Thursday, November 5, 2009

abracadabra …

appears eight times in The First Verse, the first four times associated uniformly with Chris Mooney, Niall's sometime boyfriend: Abracadabra, me granny comes from Cabra. The fifth also is Chris but Niall at first thinks it might be Pablo (nothing too significant in that—Niall is perpetually perceiving Pablo). The sixth is brought on by Niall thinking of his grandmother. The seventh, more worryingly, is what Niall thinks just before he turns on the light to return to Pour Mieux Vivre by delving into Patrick's books (preceded by a flickering sixth appearance of a congratulatory Pablo Virgomare). And then finally the eighth on the last page of the book when the old woman (someone's granny) answers Niall's question "When is the next 46A due?" with
"Abracadabra," she said, pointing to its green shape coming out of town towards us.
"Abracadabra" is commonly used nowadays just as a "poof—there it is!" and so I think it is here. Alternatively, we're supposed to think that the sleek Virgomare is disporting himself now in granny drag!?

It is odd, I'll admit, that the novel ends so emphatically on the word "south"—when just a page before our PMVs were so determined to "Follow the allroads [a startling word itself] away southbound to the next level." but perhaps the irony here is that Niall's next level will be one free of Pour Mieux Vivre (as opposed to the 46A transporting Niall across the Bay of Biscay to the Escorial, some thousand miles west of Rome).

Lastly on the difficulties of the last page(s), Niall begins "to discern the first strain of something old and sad, the last strains of something new." The former must be the Miserere of the PMV. We don't know what the new strains are but it is worrisome that they are the last of them. Or rather it would be worrisome, this last temptation of Niall Lenihan in the Anal Hell Inn, were the bus not to ensconce and remove him to Mum & Da in Sandycove.

4 comments:

Tim said...

I have to admit I've always been struck by the 46A bus coming on the last page ("Abracadabra") to transport Niall south to Sandycove … always been struck by that bus being described as green. The vast majority of "green" in The First Verse are associastd with Pour Meiux Vivre, usually our sortilegers' eyes. The vast majority of the remainder are topographical, e.g. St. Stephen's Green. Only a handful are incidentally green, like green beans. No bus has previously ever been described as green. What do I make of it? I don't know. I still think Niall is clear of PMV, but undeniably, until the green bus' doors have closed the sortes' temptations have continued.

popsicle said...
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pinocchio said...

n'oubliez pas la rue du Chemin Vert

terry said...

As for the reference to "new," I think it is the unspecified future and related to McCrea forthcoming novel, "The Second Verse," due in 2011.
Terry