Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nick Wonders How It All Breaks Down

[Spoilers for the latter half of the book]

Going back and forth, from character to character, as Real World approaches the end, it's almost like a frame-by-frame analysis of Worm breaking down. The first half of the book, Worm's almost charming. When he first meets Kirarin, he seems almost clever and suave:
"I'd pictured Worm as this haunted-looking sweaty, smelly guy, confused and saddened by what he'd done. But the real Worm was tanned and healthy-looking. He looked neat and tidy, with a clean white T-shirt on and oversize black shorts. [...] Could he really have killed his own mother?"

This contrasts with Worm's own description of himself just hours before, in a convenience tore, where some guy's going to puke, he stinks so much. Kirarin makes mention that there's a "metallic, rusty sort of smell" about him that's usually from guys who want to have sex, but that it seems to be some other desire driving Worm.

That desire is some sort of twisted, confusing (even to Worm) conflation of anger, control, and sex. Worm attempts to seduce, cajole, and outright threaten Kirarin into sex, but every time he's rebuffed. She's well aware of whatever lurks within him. It seems like Worm has flashes of impulse that can quickly be subverted by a strong-willed woman. His ability to maintain any sort of idea or plan for very long seems weak, and easily deflected into some other thought - usually by Kirarin or Toshi demeaning him in some fashion.

Here's your question to ponder: Worm repeatedly gets the butcher knife out to threaten Kirarin. He never actually attacks her with it, but it's repeatedly pointed to as the possible method of death for Kirarin. Is this foreshadowing of the fact that cutting the cab driver's throat results in her death>


  1. Oh snap! And I don't have my copy in front of me now, but doesn't Kirarin take the knife away from Worm and slit the cab driver's throat herself? Hello Freudian emasculation symbolism, straight out of a Hitchcock horror flick.

    Another layer to the cab scene -- no one "intentionally" causes the killing, but it's caused instead by a chaotic chain of events that includes the cab driver's own actions. Worm's baseball bat matricide is his first and last virile act; all else is caused by murky chain reactions, chaos and passivity.

  2. It was Worm: "Worm picked up the butcher knife and sliced it across the driver's throat. Blood spurted out, and I couldn't stop screaming, "'Stop it! Stop it!'"

  3. Yeah, it's definitely Worm who slashes the cabbie, but the book itself does end with "murky chain reactions," pretty much everyone blaming themselves for everything (and no one really blaming Worm for the initial matricidal act that started it all). Nutty book. I'm not a particular fan. But will probably post once more about it for good measure!!