Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Lazarus Project (87-121)

This section of the book was not as enjoyable to me as the first two. Perhaps it is my lack of sleep that causes me to say that, but I had a hard time making it through this section. This section of the story begins with a description of Lazarus's autopsy report. I knew it had said that he was shot several times, but the full reality was just ridiculous. His body was mutilated. The assistant chief just stands nearby talking about how "They are creatures of a different world". This is in reference to Lazarus's different facial features and things. I think this quote just shows the depth of the discrimination of the Jews. Its like not only do they think they aren't like them, but they don't even consider them to be human. The next section of the story involved Olga and Isador. Olga is trying to write to her mother to explain that Lazarus is dead, but she cannot find the words. She keeps starting a letter over in a different way. This part really seemed real to me. Hemon caught the mood just right. Parts seemed to be randomly thrown together to simulate the rambling thoughts of Olga's distraught mind. Other parts gave off a frustrated or angry or even a little scared kind of vibe. She would be doing something, then randomly start thinking about something from the past involving Lazarus. It just all seemed like the line of thought of someone who had just experienced a serious loss. It was very real to me.

Olga goes out to the outhouse and finds that Isador is hiding down in the feces because the police are looking for him all over the city. They suspect he too is an anarchist. Olga wants to blame him for Lazarus's death. As an aside, I just want to mention that parts of this book that are heavy with dialogue can be hard to follow because Hemon does not use quotations a lot of times. Anyway, she eventually brings Isador a blanket and some bread to get him through the night. I don't know if I could hide out in all that for a night. That would be about as disgusting as it gets. Olga starts to think that "waking up dead" would be the best way to deal with the grief of losing her brother. She hears a knock at the door towards the end of this chapter and finds Lazarus standing there. I took it to be a dream based on the fact that he's supposed to be dead and he begins to speak gibberish at the very bottom of page 96, and it is all "L" words from the section of the dictionary they were studying together.

The next chapter picks back up with the narrator and Rora, this time on their journey toward Krotkiy where the narrator's grandfather is born. The infamous Ford Feces is introduced in this chapter, owned and operated by Andriy, who seems to be personally offended when someone tries to where a seatbelt in his car. To pass the time on their long car ride, the narrator describes some of the stories Rora was telling along the way. The narrator talks about how he sometimes tried to tell stories to his wife which were not entirely true, but that she would call him on it. He says reality is the fastest American commodity. He describes a time when they were at a wedding, and everyone is sharing stories about how they met or ended up together, but he tried to talk about a story about some Cold War rabbits. Mary, in front of everyone, said she didn't believe him. That was rough. They get to Krotkiy, and they enter this graveyard across from an abandoned school. They are looking for particular gravestones. They find a gravestone for a man named Mykola Brik, who Rora says looks a lot like the narrator. He is an old relative,distantly related. He talks about how Rora descends from a long line of famous or important people who all did important things.

Anyway, he wakes up in the car because he is hot and Andriy is smoking with the windows up. He begins to talk about America and his American wife, and he seems pretty proud of everything. This contrasts the first part of this book when he is talking about denouncing his American ties for a day during the independence day celebration with fellow Bosnians. But now he almost seems like he is trying to convince Andriy to come to America himself. Rora is a muslim, and Andriy doesn't believe it at first. He thinks it is funny.

The last chapter starts off with a meeting between Guzik, Miller and a little fat man. Miller is paying off Guzik for information and trying to use him to track down anarchists. He asks Guzik to take a look into Olga. Miller goes with the little fat man and attends what is supposed to be a secret anarchist meeting. At this meeting, they are calling Lazarus a martyr, and a man named Ben Reitman speaks and urges people to "respond armed with our righteous wrath." Miller gets Reitman's name from the little fat man and refers to him as the high priest of anarchy. He basicly labels him as an enemy, and the chapter ends.

I don't know if it was just because I was doing this really late and I was really tired and not quite following it clearly, but this section of the book seemed to be a lot of story-telling and reminiscing, but not much movement as far as the plot is concerned. Maybe I completely missed the point.

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