Sunday, October 01, 2006

Second Installment

So we've met Randy Waterhouse and been to Charlene and Randy's terminal dinner. There is a huge amount of plot going on in the dinner party, including some we won't be able to make sense of for 1,000 pages more or less (hint: keep your eye on GEB Kivistik).

For the next instalment, let's go 200 pages and read through page 312. Here we can start to answer one of the two or three most important questions of the book: who is Enoch Root?


Blogger Bret said...

They shoulda had their "terminal" dinner years before that. Hey, if you're not planning on having kids ever, and things are going swimmingly, ya might as well play the field and see if you can do better.

The beard thang was pretty funny. I had a beard (and long hair) for all of my 20s. I looked in the mirror and thought it made me look sort of artsy, countercultural, cool, whatever. Then, one day when I was older, I looked into the mirror and saw a balding, bearded "homeless" guy and decided that it was time for the beard to go.

But to have your girlfriend publish a paper severely criticizing beards and not to terminate the relationship right then and there does show what an utter wuss Randy is.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

I don't think Randy is a wuss as much as a very bright guy in a different head space who suffers quite a lagtime in figuring out what is going on in the real world around him and goes through some fascinating mental gyrations to figure that out. There are several instances of this throughout the book. If you look at his father, he came by it honestly.

All good patriotic conservatives can cheer his takedown of Kivistik, but even there he sounds a little hokey for someone who has spent so much time in universities and around around Charlene's crowd--more like a high school dropout who built a successful chain of dry cleaners. His ode to hard work and success in America was particularly charmimg for one who had failed so many times.

It's well-done and realistic. I recall at least two cases where software techies were losing their marriages and tried to write their own separation agreements to keep everything away from lawyers. They were the strangest documents I'd ever seen. I'm pretty sure they thought they were writing code.

As to who Enoch is, that is a very interesting question. I can think of a few representative characters, but I would like to be teased by the cryptic Mr. Cohen first.

5:11 AM  
Blogger David said...

Ah, perfect, cryptic clues about Cryptonomicon.

Let's leap ahead, then, to the second time we meet Enoch Root: Root goes around with a clawhammer, driving in sixteen-penny nails with sure, powerful, Carpenter-of-Nazareth-like strokes.

11:29 AM  
Blogger David said...

Bret: The dinner is, in lots of ways, a new beginning for Randy. To use his own metaphore, his vacation in the Shire is coming to an end and he's about to go off on a quest.

He tears away the last few strings tieing him to Charlene, he gets his call from Ari, 80 hours later he's in Manila and a few days after that he shaves off his beard (thus relinguishing his identity as a dwarf and taking on his true identity as a man).

11:31 AM  
Blogger Bret said...

Sure, the dinner is a new beginning for Randy. It just took him an awfully long time to muster up the courage to go off on the "quest" as you call it.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

BTW, I'll be outta town next week so won't be able to join in the discussions for the next installment.

3:58 PM  
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