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Friday, August 28, 2009
'Jane' by PF Jeffery, Book 2, Berenice, Chapter 4


The thrust of plot continues compulsively amid a welter of characters' names and innuendos about their significance.  There seems to be a destiny working out here, eg a chance meeting on a bus with a girl dressed in the 'gravehouse' fashion leading to university connections, and then considerations of Lisa-Louise and Modesty Clay.


Talk of the comparison of 'loot' with 'prizes' in the military ethos. The arithmetic of fate intrinsic to auditing, along with medians and protocols.


The dusty archives are revisited – 'the 'filthy cellar' – with added spookiness. Tellingly a far future world with dusty archives that presumably subsumed the distant computer age where we readers currently live today.


Prospects for Jane's future:


<<...the entirely new idea of being sent to Lundin.  Berenice was a big city, but new, apart from having absorbed isolated buildings, a few villages and a small town.  By contrast, Lundin was the subject of ancient stories and songs.  It was a legend, an inaccessible place, invested with the cruelties of the wickedest kings and infamous Usurper.  The notion of treading its time-cursed streets filled me with terror and delight in equal measure.>>


Jane still spying on Coral Frobisher - cosying up to her – including a 'date' at the  theatre to watch a salacious play.


Swamp fever - marsh distemper - red tape - more machinations – office 'team building' (sad to see this has survived into the far future from our world!).


Hints of photography being developed at the University as a new science.


Myra Inch -  Lucy-Anne Flight – Nicola again – Jane's knowing Mother...


There is a pantheism about the ambiance thriving on coincidences, hints, connections – a rollercoaster that's taking me whither?




Links to all my JANE chapter comments:



Posted at 12:31 pm by Weirdmonger

PF Jeffery
August 29, 2009   07:05 PM PDT
Thank you for that!

An office in Jane’s world will inevitably be more given over to dusty pieces of paper than one in our time. There is no electricity, and hence no computers. Perhaps 500 or 1,000 years after Jane there will be computers again. Or not. Who knows? But, even in 2009, offices still store dusty sheets of paper. In fact, the computer, so far from leading (as predicted) to the paperless office, tends to generate more paper documents than ever before. And the likes of invoices and remittance advice still (in 2009) seem more often than not to be sent as pieces of paper. Even when sent by email, are generally printed in the office where they are received. (Sometimes both a computer print out from the email copy, and one sent through the post, are kept.) Having worked in this field, I believe that there is currently a legal obligation (in Britain) for companies and organisations to preserve such financial documents for 7 years. Dusty paper financial archives have not been abolished, although one would be hard put to find one as large (or as dusty?) as that under the building in which Jane works.

By way of inspiration, the confusing way in which the records are stored owes something to the stacks of Southend-on-Sea public library in the mid 1960s. (I never did figure the sequence of books in the stacks, and eventually gave up looking for the things for which I was supposed to search.) Miss Frobisher (like the senior librarians) understands it, while Jane (like the youthful me) does not. Oh, and the library stacks could be pretty dusty.

Even in our day, the streets of London are time-cursed. How much more so will be the streets of Lundin in Jane’s time?

An idea like team building is not one, I feel, that people are likely to relinquish. In Jane’s time, some genies are back in the bottle, but not all (especially not the ones that involve no technology). That said, and in fairness, some building of the team may be useful before re-locating to Lundin. The reader may judge the matter during Book 3.

I’m not sure who you mean by “Lucy-Anne Flight”. I’ve searched the chapter for all three elements of the name. Lucy and Anne drew complete blanks. Flight brought up only flights of stairs.

By “Myra Inch” I assume you mean “Myrtle Inch”. Actually, this is a name I altered during the writing process. She was originally to be Merrill Inch, until I realised that Merrill Inch is (more or less) the name of a bank. I assume that Inch exists as a surname on the basis of Inch’s cider. I don’t suppose it counts as a spoiler to reveal that we will know young Myrtle a lot better by the end of the book.
August 29, 2009   10:27 PM PDT
Thanks for your continuing comments which shed much authorial thought.

As to Lucy-Anne Flight, I can't explain that. I'm sure I read about a character called that. Or did I dream it! I am seriously mystified.
PF Jeffery
August 30, 2009   09:59 AM PDT
I think that the only Lucy in “Jane” is Jane's mother's cat. But I have now identified Lucy-Anne Flight. She is actually Lily-Anne Flight, and is the junior lecturer on the bus, the young woman sporting gravehouse fashions. The searches I did yesterday should have revealed the name. The only explanation (of which I can think) that would account for my failure to identify the character is that I was searching the wrong chapter. I counter-commented on four chapters yesterday, which goes a long way to reveal why I was in danger of doing such a thing. So, you were only slightly wrong in writing “Lucy” for “Lily”, while I was barking up the wrong chapter.

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