Monday, June 08, 2015

A 'Precious' Plot Spoiler from David Mitchell's Bone Clocks

Not Hugo Lamb
L. A. Times

Some days earlier than the scene we're going to look at in a moment, a certain Fitzsimmons asks a circle of friends what love is. Hugo Lamb, a main character and brilliant sociopath, admits that he has no idea because he's never been in love. But he then meets his match in the decidedly brilliant but non-sociopathic Holly Sykes and falls for her completely, sinker, line and hook:
I'd [now] tell Fitzsimmons et al that love is fusion in the sun's core. Love is a blurring of pronouns. Love is subject and object. The difference between its presence and its absence is the difference between life and death. Experimentally, silently, I mouth, I love you, to Holly, who breathes like the sea. This time I whisper it, at about the violin's volume: 'I love you.' No one hears, no one sees, but the tree falls in the forest just the same.
Except that another choice is looming, a Faustian choice posed by someone in a Land Cruiser, a radical transformation beyond good and evil . . . though it's actually a choice to be evil, and in an interior monologue, Lamb talks himself out of being in love with Holly:
I remember holding Holly in my arms, earlier.
But it's the feeling of love that we love, not the person.
It's that giddy exhilaration I just experienced, just now.
The feeling of being chosen and desired and cared about.
It's pretty pathetic when you examine it clearheadedly.
So. This is a real, live Faustian pact I'm being offered.
I almost smile. Faust tends not to have happy endings.
But a happy ending like whose? Like Brigadier Philby's?
He passed away peacefully, surrounded by family.
If that's a happy ending, they're fucking welcome to it.
When push comes to shove, what's Faust without his pact?
Nothing. No one. We'd never have heard of him. Quinn.
Dominic Fitzsimmons. Yet another clever postgrad.
Another gray commuter, swaying on the District Line.
The Land Cruiser's rear door clunks open an inch.
He gets in, and thus does Hugo Lamb give in to temptation, to a Faustian bargain favoring deathlessness over love.

Except that he never truly falls out of love with Holly and expresses it years later in a vital way that she never knows . . . but enough plot spoilers for today.

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