I have read some very long and difficult novels, and I have immensely enjoyed some of them (Joyce's "Ulysses" or Broch's "The Death of Virgil" come to my mind). With this book, I traversed a deep valley: I started enthusiastical about the structure and narrative point of view (Isrobestis Tott), remained interested in the "story" (Henry Pimber), and then struggled through the excruciating 80+ pages of Jethro Furber's first chapter. I confess I was close to giving up, but fortunately a long experience as a reader has taught me that, with works of literature well established in reputation after some time, it is usually worth it to persevere (not always, of course). So I did, and I am glad about it.
I hadn't, of course, thought about "Amadeus", but the comparison is illuminating. Throughout the book, I was constantly reminded of Faulkner, especially the latest book I have read by him, "The Hamlet" first published in 1940. I am also convinced that Henry committed suicide; I see no reason for Omensetter to having killed him, but I'm not sure there was an affair between Pimber's wife and him. By the way, am I right to think that both wives (Pimber's and Omensetter's) are called Lucy?
Now, of course the central character is Furber, and I don't think anyone could call him a likable character. Obviously the man has serious sexual frustrations and fixations. Is he a Catholic priest or a Protestant minister? All the imagery (and celibacy, of course) indicates to me that he's Catholic, although I've never thought of Ohio as a very Catholic place, except for Italian or Polish immigrants. And obviously, he's a bad man that has a "change of heart" at the end of the book, accompanied by a severe nervous collapse.
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