From the start of the novel, it is evident that Xanther is quite a unique character. Although only 12 years old, she faces the unfortunate reality of having to endure epileptic episodes. As many have expressed on the forum, I find myself mainly concerned and attached to the Xanther sections. Her narrative allows the reader an entrance into the mind of not only a brilliant and yet still inherently naïve young girl, but also into the mind of someone prone to epilepsy. When Xanther is speaking, her rambling is extremely sporatic, causing me to pause and speed up at abnormal areas. Her frantic and spastic nature personifies her illness, and leaves me on edge every time I read through her sections. One particular scene in which I felt Xanther’s epilepsy was extremely personified was when she was testing Anwar’s game. The predator chasing her had not yet been defined, and Xanther was running through the game trying to escape its grasp. While reading this part, I kept thinking of her illness as this dark cloud that hovers, threatening her, causing her to try and out run and evade another epileptic episode.
The parenthetical information provided gives a direct window into Xanther’s subconscious, and grants her a unique voice that helps us to understand her character. Just like the jingjing and shnork sections carry diverse dialects, the Xanther sections, also have their own “language”. The way Danieleswki provides misspellings and pronunciations written phonetically instead of correctly, connects us to Xanther and the way her mind works (once again inspiring a sense of child-like innocence that connects to the reader). For example, whenever Anwar refers back to the time he read Xanther Homer’s “The Illiad”, Xanther remembers it as “I –lion”.
Anwar and Astair’s constant concern for the well being of Xanther, and their (understandable) paranoia as to when the next seizure might occur, gains the reader’s sympathy, which I also believe makes the Xanther sections more appealing and relatable. Xanther’s disease not only dominates over her life, but the lives of every member in her family. Her twin sisters seem to cling to one another out of a sense of neglect; Anwar and Astair burden themselves financially in order to attend to their daughter’s needs. Furthermore, when Anwar and Xanther return from Venice the first time, Astair sees Xanther all bloody and bruised, and immediately is frozen with fear. The shape of the text all blurring together, and her delirious state appeared to me as if she herself was having a seizure. She wasn’t able speak, and the way the words were blending together made it seem like she her vision was fading from this extreme and nightmareish situation. The same could be said for Anwar, when Xanther runs out of the car, he has a break down that is described similar to one of Xanther’s epileptic seizures.