This might be out of context, or it might be brilliant. I have no clue. I’ve seen a couple of people elude to it but not seen someone come out and say it: I think the kitten is a Narcon physical construct.
And here’s why:
Let’s start with the Narcons and their rules.
Parameter 1: MetaNarcons Do Not Exist.
Parameter 3: Narcons cannot interact with non-narcons. and vice-versa. No matter what.
Parameter 5: Form is not a narcon limit.
The Narcon9 can lie. “last one… So okay, I was wrong. Not the last one. Sue me” (574-575).
Narcons can appear as animals. “Narcons can take on multiple shapes whether textual, musical…. Narcons may even appear as animals. Say a killer whale, boar, hyena, even a markhor, or an owl” (575) [By the way, the owl in the next book. hint hint. come on now. Tell me you saw that.] “This is often the case when personality factors determined to be significant are compressed in order to preserve future renderings of character.”
There is a form of meta Narcon that Narcon 9 is aware of but he lies to us in parameter one. “a superset [being Narcon 9] is always a subset [being the characters the Narcon 9 encompasses]. I’m the superset of my suvsets where I’m also an I. Just as I am a subset of a superset where I is also I.”
Trickster. Now let’s switch gears.
Remember Tian Li’s shadow cat that gave her magical healing powers? Anyone find it funny how is just up and disappears right before Xanther finds a kitten?
Okay so, here’s the theory a little bit more fleshed out. I’m supposing that Xanther is a special character. Obviously she needs a little healing. And maybe something in Xanther’s world needs preserving? So, I’m not suggesting Narcon9 but maybe a different Narcon that was helping Tian Li, took on a physical form of a kitten to preserve something in Xanther’s world and possibly healing Xanther?
It’s just a little connection I made. Hope you at least enjoyed reading it.
I kind of answered this in a response to another post but, what if the cat Xanther found was meant to be with her. I’ve been wondering if maybe the reason some characters can hear a meow or cry might be that the cat is trying to get attention from the character it needs to be with. Or maybe, since the theory is that Xanther can hear/see narcons, the cat “knows” that Xanther can do this and was deliberately trying to get her attention to be with her. Whether to protect or harm her remains to be unseen. However, since this book has been described as a story about a girl and her cat, I’m getting the feeling that the cat might have been sent to protect her. Here’s hoping for a Girl and Cat Space Adventure.
Reading this book has really gotten odd, honestly. There are so many different elements that are weird in the book that what appears to be going on is something straight from a G.G. Márquez novel.
For example, with Isandorno, we have a character who is a “practitioner of superstition without being superstitious.” This paradoxical statement along with the telling of his story in Veinte Pesos is really reminiscent of a dream sequence in a magical realist genre-ed book. Why the random animals (donkey and goat)? Why climb a pyramid? What does he mean by “What hunts you now you already own”? One critic said of magical realism, “If you can explain it, it isn’t magical realism.” So, I’m not really positing that this is magical realism, but it very well could be. Magical realism, too, is a practice in much of Latin American literature. (It is derived from the folklore of the region from which it comes–almost like the epic tradition from Homer to Virgil to Milton and then Eliot).
Magical realism acknowledges animals with spiritual significance, contains lots of metafiction, real world setting with unworldly events treated normally, and a mysterious tone — all things possibly present here.
I’m just posing questions here, honestly. I’m curious as to what exactly is pulling these characters out into the rain–what the rain represents–why the creation of a metafictitious device like a Narcon, and ultimately why write a 37-volume series about a girl who finds a kitten? I’m not confident we’ll get any answers too quickly — Danielewski doesn’t seem to function like that.
Just a quick post regarding the Luther and Xanther texts. My history might be a bit rusty here, but I noticed Luther seems to come from a primarily Mexican background whereas Xanther’s father, Anwar, is revealed to be of Egyptian descent. Luther owns various dogs and in the end (spoilers, I guess?) Xanther comes into possession of a dying baby cat. From what I recall, Aztecs used to revere the dog breed Xoloitzcuintli (which is mentioned in the text) and would bury their dead with these dogs to help guide their souls to the afterlife. I’m not knowledgeable of Egyptian culture at all, but I do know cats were regarded with similar honors by ancient Egyptian civilizations (perhaps someone could help me with how exactly this was done). Xanther was originally going to get a dog, but the cat interfered in what was seemingly going to be an idyllic turnaround for her family (particularly Astair’s) life. The cat in this sense is a bringer of chaos. In the same way, Luther at some point thought of letting Hopi take care of his dogs, but ended up killing him (the death that we so anticipated in his narrative). Is there something to be done with the way animals deeply attached to cultural roots of these characters seem to also be harbingers of chaos?
I think this novel has me over-analyzing minor details, but has anyone else noticed the frequent use of the number nine? The number nine appears on page 239 when the twins are playing The Animal Game. Freya tells Shasti, “You can only change your mind nine times.”
On page 272, jingjing counts nine people on the top floor of a building that he refers to as a palace. Even though he counted four on each side (which would equal 8,) it’s “always nine.”
Isandorno can’t say the number nine unless he taps out nine by fingers to thumb. He does this on page 307.
I think the number nine stood out to me because its relevance to cats. Cats are said to have nine lives and there have been many mentions of cats so far in the novel.
In the text, we frequently see comments in the font designated for “The Narcons” (for more information on who uses which font, you can find this information in the back of your book approximately pg. 843). These comments are bracketed by the braille letters “N” and “Z”. It is my hypothesis that “The Narcons” are Mark Z. Danielewski playing the part of creator or God. These Narcons (TF-Narcon3, 9 & 27) are giving us clues in the text, translations, and then states that they aren’t our “Google bitch[es],” as the Mandarin and Cantonese characters start showing up frequently in the character jingjing’s chapters, I believe that these inserted comments are the author’s way of communicating signals and clues to his readers without leaving footnotes. As some mentioned in an earlier class this week, the braille letter may in fact be Danielewski’s way of signing his name.
The most important clue that “The Narcons” has left us (or me) so far is found on Page 110, where “The Narcons” point out that the spelling of “catstrophe” may not just be coincidental or the fault of mistranslation or an accent. He points this out with the use of an “!” which leads me to believe that cats will be significant later on in the story (this and the fact that others have many posts about cats).
What do you think? Could “The Narcons” be Mark Z. Danielewski? Or do you think that Mark Z. Danielewski is playing the role of creator by implementing the narcons into the story to create and manipulate the narrative for him? Would Danielewski engage with his audience in such a personal way as to write himself as one of the characters? Or are “The Narcons” something else entirely? If so, who do you think it is?