Thursday, December 31, 2015
What becomes the focus for his attention and attachment is a pistol that he finds, next to a body (likely a suicide). Taking the gun muddles the scene for the police, who do not classify the case as suicide because no weapon was found. But for the narrator, the gun becomes at first simply the focus of his fascination: it is a beautiful machine that must be cared for, respected, and hidden. But gradually the function of the weapon also becomes part of his fetish.
Along the way, several encounters provide a counterpoint to the gun: his closest friend, a female fellow student, and a woman he meets for casual sex each demonstrate the narrator's daily life of little affect, ambition, or interest. He is in a way a blank canvas on which the gun has been inscribed.
The conclusion that the story seems to be inevitably approaching in the last half of this short book is suddenly subverted and twisted into a sudden explosion of violence of a different sort than the narrator had intended, providing a more satisfying portrait of the character and his situation than a more straightforward ending could have. This is an intense, claustrophobic, and effective noir/philosophical thriller.