1.9 / 2.16

“On the Roof”
Book 1, chapter 9; Book 2, chapter 16


1.9 Male Protagonist, senior credit investigator (unnamed), his wife (Estelle), her deadbeat friends (unnamed), but one of them a redhead.

2.16 Female protagonist (Janet), her husband (Al), black guy and red-headed who rape Janet (unnamed)

General Subject/ Plot

1.9: a professional man comes home to find his wife hanging out with her loathesome childhood friends on the roof.

2.16: a woman joins some men on a roof to smoke hash and they rape her.


1.9 deadbeats, redhead, oxford grey suit and homburg (for which he’s laughed at, like first in the bedroom), other clothing, Jesus, alcohol, infidelity –the woman’s)

2.16 redhead, black professional, alcohol, rape, women’s undergarments (the bra in first ‘in dreams’), “Just for a Thrill,” Jesus, rain, apartment


In the first, a husabnd exits the cupola of the roof to find his wife in a compromising situation –in which she is complicit– with her deadbeat friends; in the second, a different husband exits the cupola on the roof soon to find his wife has been brutally raped and sodomized (not complicit).

This follows a pattern established by the preceding “In Dreams”: in the first “In Dreams” the wife’s promiscuousness exposes the husband to some awkardness and uncertainty; in the second “In Dreams”, a woman is brutally sodomized and raped.

[To state it otherwise: The first and second “On the Roof” repeat a pattern of the first and second “In Dreams” — in the first of each the woman is presented as a sort of liability to the man/ husband, because of her sexual availability; in the second of each, the woman is presented as sexually vulnerable, a victim.]

In the first “On The Roof” the wife seems to enjoy a party, which gets her in trouble with the husband. In the second, she doesn’t enjoy at all the party that her husband is so into himself, and this is what gets her in trouble.

In the first “On The Roof” like the second “In The Bedroom”, the wife laughs at the pretensions implied by the husband donning a homburg.

Each features a redhead, each refers to the banking industry, each has a husband stepping through the door of the cupola…

In general, it’s notable how much these short vignettes suggest about the life histories of their characters, and how the suggested life histories of one chapter will mingle with and refer to the suggested life histories of another.

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