The Thing Itself
Anwar’s chapters are particularly enlightening throughout. More than Xanther, he is my guide for navigating the terrain of this novel. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is that he perceives the world in a way that is most relative to me. The way he processes the world around him, and then at the end of the book they way that he internalizes this process to sort through his own thoughts, made me more confident than ever that he was the best tour guide through what I think of as Xanther’s world.
One of his thoughts, I believe, sums up the main question of the text, “What happens to a metaphor when it ceases to become a metaphor, but the thing itself…” (720)?
This leads me to a lot of other questions:
What does it mean for Anwar to make these connections? What does it mean that he witnessed the resurrection of the kitten? What does it mean that he is the only one awake for the kitten’s escape from its reinforced box into Xanther’s bed? What does this mean for the narcons? What does this mean for the Orb?
In the other narratives, we see that certain characters have an affinity for certain animals: Astair and Luther love dogs, Tian Li, Isandorno, and Xanther have a fondness for cats, we hear at some point that Xanther’s old psychologist had an affinity for horses…and so on. We can think of the animals associated with these characters as familiars of a sort, but that brings me to my next question.
What animal is linked with Anwar? It’s probably in the text somewhere, but I must have missed it.