Monday, January 22, 2018

The Responsible Engineer

Although the story began on All Souls' Day in a small Irish town, I had no illusions that there would be anything creepy about Mike McCormack's 'Solar Bones' (2016). Totally expected it to be about the middle-aged protagonist searching for the meaning of life in a small town in the west coast of Ireland in 2008. (Reviews here, here, here and here.)

Protagonist Marcus Conway is a civil engineer, and a father, and basically, IMHO, a conflicted man giving himself a mid-life performance appraisal. He has a wife Mairead, a grown daughter, Agnes, who’s an artist and living in the city of Galway, and a son Darragh who seems to be off gallivanting in Australia earning his way by picking fruit at the orchards. Marcus and Mairead live in the small town of Mayo in rural Ireland.

Mairead got really ill from a strange sort of flu. Apparently half the town was infected too, from drinking contaminated water in the town’s supply. Marcus took care of his wife, spent time reminiscing about his life, his work as engineer (building bridges) and his children, his relationship with his sister and deceased father. The memories and conversations flow from everything to anything.

I was wondering where the story is going. Then we continued to four months later, and the twist happens. Marcus died of a heart attack while out on an errand to get tonic capsules for his recovering wife.
alone here in the open space of the world with no walls or roofs or floors around me, the sole inhabitant of a vast, white space which is swept clear of fences and homesteads and plants and trees, all gone, the world as complete erasure since even the sun itself is drawn from the sky leaving me wholly alone, fading in whatever way it is we fade from the world 
animal, mineral, vegetable 
father, husband, citizen

No comments: