Two-Faced Woman: Recaps Chapters 6, 7, 8

Chapter Six: 6 Conflict (Sòng)

Gabriel has a very symbolic dream about himself and Joel. The dream does nothing to calm his feelings. So it’s back to work. Gabriel goes to the Women’s Freedom Network. He speaks with the deputy director, Frank Carlson. They talk about the murder of Charlotte Merical. Frank is interested and willing to let Gabriel look at some records of persons of whom the organization helped. Later Gabriel speaks to the legal director, Seth Monroe. Seth remembers that Charlotte had a source she was dealing with right before she was murdered. The source was connected to  private college in the area, Prentice-Cane.

Gabriel is lost in thought back at his apartment. Alex attempts to comfort him, but he ends up making Gabriel more angry by suggesting they move away together, or that Gabriel get better schooling. Still, Gabriel allows himself to be intimate although he’s highly agitated still due to his encounter with Joel.

The next day, Gabriel drives himself and Joel to Long Island to see Geneva and catch her up on the information Gabriel found, and his speculation that Geneva was the natural child of someone influential. Geneva and friendly and inviting to them, but there’s some tension between Gabriel and Joel even as she makes plans to see them socially.

Actually, a lot of tension. And after they leave her, Gabriel pulls into an empty lot to contemplate the ocean, and Joel confronts him over what isn’t happening. They have it out about how they feel. And though Gabriel is honest about still loving Joel, he’s also very afraid that if he gets involved, Joel will distance himself. Gabriel is on the verge of collapse, and Joel stops the argument to take him home. And then he walks away.

Chapter Seven: 23 Stripping Away (Bō)

Gabriel dreams about being on death row and being executed. He’s taking on the sins of others to save them.Gabriel’s dreams cause him to scream aloud, scaring his neighbor.

Gabriel visits Sophie, and through her, Edward. Edward says Leonard loved women and wouldn’t hurt them–but his brother would. Don Mathers. Don was supposed to have hanged himself in a nearby state park. Gabriel arranges to speak to Bob about Don Mathers. He also tries to contact Joel, who is not responding.

Bob tells Gabriel about Don Mathers, who was a real piece of work. A terrible man who tortured his brother psychologically, but appeared like a good person to others who didn’t know him like Bob and Edward. Bob remembers that Don worked with a professor at Prentice-Cane.

Gabriel picks up some info about Don from some interviews that confirms what Bob says. He updates Mikki, who is worried about him. He also gets back in touch with Bettina Carver, his former supervisor when he was an intern in Rochester back in college. He asks her to see if she can obtain police reports about Bernadette McCabe.

The next person Gabriel consults is Bertrand Herrmann. Herrmann and Gabriel briefly discuss Gabriel’s continuing studies of the Tertullian Society from Kent Varney’s notes. They also talk about Gabriel’s current case. Gabriel has figured out that a former psychology professor at Prentice-Cane, Nikola Devanović, is involved. He was jailed for running a fraudulent self-improvement operation. But, as they discover, Devanović was the one who had Don declared dead, and is his heir.

 Chapter Eight: 36 Brilliance Injured (Míng Yí)

We see a story about ongoing arsons in Rochester.

Then Geneva is meeting with Gabriel to run on the CUNY Midtown campus. Joel did not join them, and Geneva sees through the situation. Although Gabriel doesn’t want to break down, she comforts him.

Gabriel sees Chiang again. Chiang gives Gabriel some philosophical advice on knowing himself and who he feels has betrayed him, like his father. Giving others a chance, Chiang says, is giving himself a chance as well.

Gabriel gets himself together in order to look through the McCabe file Bettina sent him. He calls Arthur Knox’s mother. She is hostile to him, but from what she says, Gabriel feels she’s in contact. He also calls Arthur’s sister. The sister wants nothing to do with Arthur and bitterly resents him, but agrees to find a photo of him and send it to Gabriel.

Gabriel is outside Joel’s apartment building, and keeps buzzing for him, annoying a neighbor. The next day, Gabriel is too distraught to move. But Giselle calls him and invites him to visit. They talk for some time, and Gabriel tells her his plans to visit the area where Don Mathers attempted suicide.

We now have a scene from Joel’s perspective. He’s in his loft, working on a sculpture. His friend Isabella is watching him, and planning Joel’s upcoming show. She notices Joel is in a bad sulky mood, and ignoring his phone. She answers at the fourth time the person calls–Gabriel. Gabriel convinces her to convince Joel to take the call.

Upon realizing that Gabriel was truly concerned if Joel was okay, as he’s been freaked out about what happened last summer in the Booth case, Joel is contrite. Gabriel happens to be outside a restaurant he had gone to with Alex (and he’s miserable because Alex’s friends are all jackasses) and Joel urges him to come to Joel’s loft. Alex suddenly demands to know what’s going on, and Gabriel walks away, taking a cab to Chinatown and Joel’s loft.

He meets Isabella and sees some of what Joel’s been creating. Then Isabella leaves and Gabriel talks to Joel, seriously. He tells Joel he loves him and wants to be with him again. He has to do it right and end things with Alex, and that he and Joel need to work on being together–to do that right as well. Joel is ready to try.

While they are settling into that feeling, Gabriel gets an emergency call from Veronica; her apartment building is being evacuated due to a meth lab. Gabriel and Joel need to rescue her and her cat, Bella.

Between the Pages:

  • Gabriel is supposed to be quitting smoking, but goes out with Frank Carlson for the ‘social smoking.’
  • Seth Monroe finds all Gabriel’s good/bad press. A way of life for Gabriel.
  • I’ve always been a Murray Head fan. One Night in Bangkok and Jesus Christ Superstar forever.
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann–the great, bizarre author. I had the pleasure of meeting Hoffmann’s work in a NYU course (attended Alex’s favorite university for two semesters, as a film major) on doubles in literature. The focus with Hoffmann was on The Sandman and Freud’s concept of the Uncanny.

Beyond the Pages:

  • Alex mentions Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley books. Starting with The Talented Mr. Ripley, the series follows probable psychopath Tom Ripley as he lives a carefully constructed rich life in France, only occasionally needing to murder someone.
  • Persons who were wrongly executed. Cameron Todd Willingham. David Spence. Larry Griffin. Ruben Cantu. People incarcerated for crimes they likely did not commit is immensely disturbing, and a crime itself if executed. Cameron Todd Willingham’s case stuck out to me years ago for the bad arson forensics, which as part of forensic science problems over all was the subject of a Senate Judiciary hearing in 2009 (I wrote about it when I worked freelance for a magazine). Willingham’s case has since popped up again as documentary.
  • Gabriel and Geneva have some fun at Long Island’s expense. Having lived there, I’m sorry/not sorry. Their conversation only scratched the surface of the weird everyday things in that area. Just for fun:
  • Gabriel truncates wu-wei. It’s not just unnecessary action, it’s acting in harmony with the flow of the cosmos–the Dao. Joel could just as easily argue that his being with Gabriel is the harmony of the cosmos, but under the circumstances he’s in no mood for complex theological discussions.

Questions for Readers:

This section has a turning point for Gabriel. While it’s not explicitly stated, he has to choose which path of life he wants. I believe he knew from the beginning of the book–really, from the end of the last one, but held off to allow his heart to be confident in the decision. But even if we know, we may choose differently because taking that risk is too difficult. Did you ever have a moment in which you had to choose that path, and were mired in how difficult it was? How dis you resolve it?


David Gray: Life in Slow Motion

Life in Slow Motion is a very wistful song. It really strikes me as being close to poetry, and evoking mood through the haunting part of the music balanced against repetition in words:

Life in slow motion somehow it don’t feel real
Life in slow motion somehow it don’t feel real
Life in slow motion somehow it don’t feel real
Snowflakes are falling I’ll catch them in my hands
Snowflakes are falling I’ll catch them in my hands
Snowflakes are falling now you’re my long lost friend

Rihanna: Love the Way You Lie. When Riri’s at her best, she touches everything that you can feel in a contentious relationship.

Even angels have their wicked schemes
And you take that to new extremes
But you’ll always be my hero
Even though you’ve lost your mind

Leona Lewis: Bleeding Love,  and George Michael: Kissing a Fool. These have similar sentiments, but in very different styles. Lewis is very dramatic and angsty, Michael, cool and wistful.

Bleeding Love:
But I don’t care what they say
I’m in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don’t know the truth