1.13 / 2.2

Book 1, chapter 13; Book 2, chapter 2


1.13 Male narrator (unnamed), his first wife (only mentioned, unnamed), a friend of hers (maybe named Claire but probably not), Claire’s Uncle Ray.

2.2 Claire (apparently having a dream?), her doctor (Doctor Napoleon), her entertainment coordinator (a young black man, Ferlon Gervette)

General Subject/ Plot

1.13: narrator reflects on a woman named Claire he’d had somewhat to do with a long while ago: she was very beautiful; died young of Ovarian cancer; and at the age of twelve had had “romances” with her father and father’s brother.

2.2: A woman has a surreal encounter at her doctor’s office… has to be a dream but is not identified as such.


1.13 Helen of Troy, “magic”, Claire, disease, brothers, Irene Dunne, Sunset Park, abortion, World Telegram, incest, numbers 12 & 23,

2.2 Memoires, Writer, Napoleon, Claire, Myeloma, nurses, Los Angeles, slip,


Mention of Helen in the first Claire points us to the first “Lovers” (where Marlowe’s description of her in Doctor Faustus is mentioned) but this proves to be a misdirection, as the lover of Claire/ Clara in the first “Lovers” is still married; the narrator of the first “Claire” is divorced.

A similar “misdirection” occurs at the end of the first “Claire”: all that we have heard about the beauty of Claire and the incestuous relationship she was coerced into and which produced a baby that she drowned in the sink in fact involved someone with a different name.

Both chapters involve the mortality of Claire as was seen in the first “Success.” In the first “Claire” (the woman initially identified as such) dies very young of ovarian cancer. In the second “Claire”, she has multiple myeloma and is chided by her doctor for smoking.

The second “Claire” could easily be an account of a dream of the Claire of the first “Success” — the dream of one jilted by a memoirist who moves to Los Angeles after she’s become terminally ill, maybe from chainsmoking.)

The first seems to be a man recounting a memory, the second seems to be the dream of a woman….

The second Claire suggests a Highschool romance like the first “In Dreams.” (In that chapter, a man has a dream of his wife, who may actually be a girl he knew in highschool.)

The first “In Dreams” is also like the first “Claire” in its ambiguity about names (the dreamer, named Charles probably, gives his name as Claire.)

The first Claire’s mention of “magic”… (like the magical dress of the second “Diner”).

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