Friday, April 25, 2008

Casanova's Chinese Restaurant - post II

There are the usual coincidences with Moreland and Jenkins bumping into each other in the hospital as they visit their wives – one expecting and the other recovering from a miscarriage. In the hall they also come across Widmerpool who is suffering from boils.

Before that there is a scene setting out the life that Jenkins has married into with Sunday lunch at Lady Warminster’s with various members of the Tolland family sitting round the table. Joining them is novelist Sir John Clarke but he is overshadowed by the news that Erridge Tolland is heading out to Spain to the civil war.

That dating reference puts this second chapter about three years on from the start of the book. Most date references are oblique but it does make you realise that in a matter of pages a fair amount of time has passed.

The end of the chapter sees the flipside of marriage. If Jenkins represents the state of marriage post true-love then Moreland sits in the middle of being more cycnical and at the other extreme – one punch away from divorce – is the music critic Maclintick. Moreland convinces Jenkins to go and visit him and when they get there they find husband and wife arguing.

An uncomfortable evening proves that marriage is not necessarily all smiles and professions of true love.

More tomorrow…

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