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Tuesday, August 25, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery (Book 2, Berenice Chapter 3)

Jane in the audit office.  Brilliantly evoked office ambiance, including typical office politics & idling by raindrop racing.  Actually 'Jane in The Audit Office' could be a title of one of those books (not Enid Blyton exactly, but you know what I mean, full of spies, secret tunnels etc)....  Goes with that film scenario I mentioned in the previous chapter's DFL comments.

There is something special about auditing and fiscal inspecting that i'm catching on to.  It seems to symbolise something deeper, e.g.:

 

<<"That's part of it.  We need to consider a range of questions.  How much goes to the troops involved in the thick of the fight?  How much to support troops?  How much to those who will restore and keep order after the conquest?  The matter is very complicated.  Take the support troops, for instance.  Some, like the artillery, should have finished their work as soon as the city surrenders.  Others, such as the baggage and supply trains, will continue indefinitely.  The battle for a major city raises a lot of fiscal questions.">>

 

And the dusty audit documents archives – the dust and the mud outside when Jane goes on an errand for cleaning fluid etc, and the subterfuge of swamp fever by a Nurse visiting the office (spoiler alert!).  The aura of old-fashionedness  is paradoxically seen from within an assumed far future setting and  gives this novel so far a unique flavour that only your actual reading of it can give a clue as to itself.

 

Jane's relatively young age becoming more significant as well as questionable from outside as well as inside the plot....

Office politics morphs into deeper politics. Codes. Madge's tea trolley. Unrepeatable offers. The ethos of deceptions. The 'Jacqui Blood' books – popular literature not a million miles away from 'Jane' itself, except perhaps without the Sapphic moments of love?  Whatever the case, this all continues to be compelling reading.

 

Nerve-wracking = Isn't 'nerve-racking' strictly correct?

 

Typos:

come of think of it

Unwilling to add any money of own

=================

Links to all my JANE chapter comments:

 


Posted at 11:42 am by Weirdmonger

PF Jeffery
August 29, 2009   07:04 PM PDT
 
Thank you for that!

I have corrected both of the typos you mention at the end. Thank you for spotting them. Nerve-wracking/nerve-racking is another matter. I feel pretty sure that I checked this at the time of writing. But I checked again on reading your comment. Chambers Dictionary gives both wracking and racking as acceptable alternatives. Given that Chambers lists 8 separate definitions for rack, and only 3 for wrack, it seems to me that the version with a w is less ambiguous. Chambers’ meaning 1 of wrack is the same as meaning 2 of rack, and is the one required here, although it may have a touch of wrack meaning 2 (a synonym for wreck).

Jane’s office draws on a number of offices in which I’ve worked. Unfortunately, the tea trolley has not survived into 2009 offices, while the office politics has.

The fiscal aspects of conquest, in Jane’s world, are certainly complex. I’m pleased that I don’t have to do the arithmetic. Unlike Jane, I’m a duffer when it comes to long division.

As far as fictional distant futures go, I’m sure that of “The Warriors of Love” has a more old fashioned aura than most. And yet it isn’t like any previous time. This may reflect an idea that time is cyclic and, indeed, the cycle of the year will loom large in “The Warriors of Love”. Yet, although time brings us repeatedly to spring, no two springs are exactly alike. Like the cycle of the year, time may be cyclic on a larger scale. Civilisations eventually die, and new ones born, but the new ones are not quite like the old. In “The Warriors of Love” the Imperial civilisation is in the process of being born. And, in their nature, all new civilisations are old fashioned, such is the inevitable perspective of seeing them in retrospect.

Jane is young. In the way of sixteen year olds, she may seem mature, but in many (and significant) ways she is not. The plan of “The Warriors of Love” is to visit her at eight year intervals (Vol 1 aged 16, Vol 4 aged 24, Vol 7 aged 32 and Vol 10 aged 40). The process of growing up should be placed in perspective.

My original conception of Jacqui Blood was as a series of books like the James Bond ones (note the similarity between the names). But it seems that (unlike James Bond) they are published as a monthly magazine (which gives them an old fashioned aura, a bit like Sexton Blake). The Jacqui Blood fiction (which is repeatedly mentioned) is clearly cheap and lurid literature. One of the points in “Jane” is the sad contrast between real and fictional spying.
 

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