Excellent remarks, Sterling! You obviously read the novel very closely and picked up some points I overlooked. My follow-up comments are below.
: In Chapter One, he describes his letter to Adrian and
: Veronica: "As far as I can remember [!] , I told
: him pretty much what I thought of their joint moral
: scruples." Pretty mild, right? What a shock for
: him (and for the reader) when we get an opportunity to
: read the actual letter.
I think adolescents are, in general, more blunt in their expressions and correspondingly more thick-skinned than mature adults. We would probably all be dismayed by how insensitive we were at that age. Tony, though, was still way out of line.
: Anthony + Veronica + Adrian X Sarah = baby
In his equation Adrian is simply expressing a chain of relationship, not implying any blame on Tony (or Veronica, for that matter). Most people don't blame a failed relationship on the person who introduced them to the person who introduced them... Yet Veronica lashes out viciously at Tony as though this were all his fault. I suppose she is, in part, transferring her own feelings of guilt to the next person down the line.
: In the morning when the others are out, Sarah,
: Veronica's mother, does indeed make a pass at Tony.
: He is too innocent to recognize it. It doesn't seem
: to occur to him that an older woman could find him
This kind of goes along with a comment that I had flagged to the effect that "in the 60s most of us were still living in the 50s." Nowadays the media promote the idea of mature women as sex objects, but back in the June Cleaver days your friend's mother was as asexual as your own mother.
: I don't know why the others are all out.
It would have to have been Sarah's doing. She probably concocted a story for her family about wanting to screen this young man but told Veronica to say it was her own idea. Whether the family believed her at this point was questionable.
: Tony wrote in his vicious letter: "Even her own
: mother warned me against her. If I were you, I'd
: check things out with Mum…Of course, you'll have to do
: this behind Veronica's back." Considering what
: Veronica eventually learned about Adrian, she no doubt
: interpreted this as encouraging an affair between
: Adrian and her mother. Very likely, she believes that
: Tony did have sex with her mother that morning.
Interesting point. Even if Veronica didn't assume anything happened between Tony and Sarah, she still has evidence here to construct a conspiracy theory.
: Mum seems to have been quite the tart. After her
: husband's death, she moved to London and "took in
: lodgers" even though she did not need the rent
I missed this one. Yet another clue laid in front of us by the author.
: Sarah sent the £500 as a kind of thank you for
: introducing her to Adrian. This seems about the
: average amount of a small bequest of gratitude.
: Although she claims that she is "not sure of
: [her] own motives," she intended Tony to have
: Adrian's diary, which would explain the situation.
I'm still unclear on Sarah's motives. Everything depends on what the diary says that we never see. She's kept it now for about 40 years, never contacting Tony and presumably aware that Veronica hasn't either. Does she assume Tony knows about the baby? If not, she would have to realize that, far from being a "thank you," her bequest would come as a huge shock to Tony. So perhaps there are passages in the diary that are very generous towards Tony, and that's why vicious Veronica keeps it to herself. In which case Tony is having to turn loose of the memories out of which he selectively created a past and replace them with memories edited by Veronica.
Message Thread | Skip to this response ↓
« Back to index