__________, thank you for robbing yourself of a bit of sleep in order to write this thoughtful reply. For my part I have nothing better to do than sit in the sun during the day in an interior courtyard surrounded by a wall with glass shards embedded along the top and obsess over this book. Therefore, I have resolved to try to keep my word count under control and limit myself to one posting per day here. This one is it for Wednesday, February 10 anno Domini 2010. (Do I have the day and date correct?)
The only statement in your reply with which I adamantly disagree is that you “saw it as quite the opposite.” I believe that you said this because you inferred that I consider incomprehension, lassitude, and resignation to be unhappy states of mind. Not so, and I should have made that clear.
Just a bit more about Espinoza and Pelletier. You and I both see a transformation. I do think their situation is a bit layered though. (God, I hate that word “layered,” but what is the alternative?) First, with regard to Pelletier, yes, he is rereading Archimboldi but with acknowledgment, for the first time, that he does not entirely understand these works.
When he returned to the hotel Pelletier was reading Saint Thomas again. When he sat down beside him Pelletier looked up from the book and said there were still things he didn't understand and probably never would. Espinoza laughed and said nothing.
Espinoza asked whether he was preparing some article or essay on those three books in particular and Pelletier's answer was vague.
Even more important, I think, is that fact that Pelletier spends a good deal of time now studying newspapers trying to figure out what is going on in Santa Teresa.
As for Espinoza, I do not see any indication that he is now going to realize his dream of being a writer instead of a critic. Instead, he now has daydreams of marrying the decidedly unintellectual Rebeca and running off with her back to Spain. He is startled to realize that he had forgotten all about his copies of Archimboldi stashed in his luggage.
Moreover, Michael in his latest posting about those brushes with death observes of Espinoza that as a wealthy person he will escape Santa Teresa as Rebeca and the women of the city cannot. Really? Where in this text is there any assurance that Espinoza will escape Santa Teresa or that he can? Likewise with Pelletier.
These things are what I was speaking of when I used the words “incomprehension, lassitude, and resignation.” Still, I am not contending that any of this is some sort of tragedy. Nor can I characterize it as an unqualified happy ending either. It is difficult to envision any such thing occurring in Santa Teresa. Nonetheless, they do seem content with the idea that they are as close to Archimboldi there as they will ever be. The idea that they will someday lead him on stage to accept his Nobel Prize is long, long gone.
As for Liz, she believes herself happy in the end. (She did escape Santa Teresa.) More power to her. She does write of her liaison with Morini, however, “I don't know how long we'll last together.” I don't know either. I really do not.