I want to thank you both for waiting for me to finish my new favorite Rohmer, Caged Eagle.
It’s so fantastically haphazard. The other books were full of loose ends, but none them were so crazily disjointed. Rohmer clearly keeps getting new ideas about what his book is about, ideas that should make him go back and start rewriting everything, but he doesn’t. He adds them and moves on.
Page one: He tells you he’s writing this in prison with a pencil because he’s old fashioned. Page two, he tells you he’s writing it from notes he’s already dictated into a tape recorder. Page three through page 250 of Caged Eagle are written in the third person.
Including a 50 page mistaken identity fake out about Gator being dead that – as you guys have already noted – doesn’t work at all, because Gator is telling the story.
A lesser writer would have revised.
A sexy nurse tells Gator she’s having his baby in 1944, and then we hear she had a miscarriage, and then we hear that Gator has another entirely different mystery heir, by another mistress. How does this mystery heir –a brilliant nuclear physicist -- figure into the denouement? As it turns out, not at all.
What about the horny lawyers? We hear a lot about how horny they are, and how they think Julie is going to be yucky, but then she’s hot. So? So nothing.
How did Louise get to be a senator?
Gator doesn’t let on that his dad is a lawyer. Then he reveals that his dad is a lawyer. And? And, well, yeah.
When Louise shocks her party by endorsing the Strategic Defense Initiative (never mentioned before or after page 210) how is that supposed to figure into how we feel about her?
We’re told that Mr. Foster is on his honeymoon maybe a dozen times. What difference does that make to the story? None. Mr. Foster doesn’t like Louise. What does this foreshadow? Nothing.
A daughter – at least I think this is what the second half of the book is about -- fights her father for the control of the greatest fortune in Canada. Then, in a paragraph, they agree to split everything 60/40... we now return to our battlefield murder mystery.
It has the logic of a daydream. You want a third twist ending, where it turns out it’s all happening in Gator’s mind in 1944, at the instant of his death.
“That big guy stole my girl… but what if I used my secret boxing skills to beat the shit out of him… and then used my incredible flying stills to kill him… and then she told me she never loved him, because I’m hung like a V-2 and he’s not… and then I married her… and he turned out to be the richest guy in Canada…”
I’d put it up there with Retaliation.
If it wasn’t such a catastrophe it could be Canada’s Gatsby.
A sleepy old businessman looks out the window of his plane and dreams.