Monday, January 26, 2009

Poor Folk & Other Stories - post IV

Having finished Poor Folk it only seems right to carry on and get through the other three stories in this volume. The longest is the first and I will combine the other two in a post tomorrow.

The Landlady

There is a scene here that reminds me of David Lynch at his best. That sense of the lines between reality and madness disappearing are gripping. As the wine flows and the old man and the young woman who are the hero’s landlady and landlord start arguing the hero finds he is losing his grip on sanity.

It marks the climax of an attempt by the young recluse to fall in love and get the young woman away from the clutches of the old man. He finds them after he is forced to leave his lodgings and then falls for the young woman. He follows them home and asks for a room.

As a lodger he gets to know the young woman who nurses him when he falls ill. But everything is far from clear. What is the relationship between the old man and the young woman? What is her story? Is the old man mystical and spiritually gifted?

Adding in the sense of unreality created by the epilepsy of the old man and the illness that dogs the hero the battle played between the main characters is on a mental plane and the mental scars are left with the hero long after he has left his lodging.

There is a moment when you wonder if souls have not been traded and the old man and the young woman are not quite what they seem. That is the Lynch like quality, reminding me of Blue Velvet in particular. That idea of a normal man entering into a world of insanity and darkness in order to rescue the damsel in distress only to find himself undermined by what he finds.

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