Sunday, June 23, 2013


By sheer coincidence my brother-in-law David started reading THE THREE MUSKETEERS just before I did. He finished a couple of weeks ago and promised "no owl spoilers." I must admit I was giving up all hope of finding an owl in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. The musketeers constantly ride around the countryside at night, totally owlless. So here I am, all the way on page 658 (see also), and the chapter starts like this: "It was approaching midnight. The moon, cut away by its waning and bloodied by the last traces of the storm..." And I swear, friends, I stopped right there and said to myself - said aloud, practically - "If this paragraph doesn't have an owl in it, none of them will!" Yes, yes, this is what it has come to: my theory, advanced half in jest - at least! - that every great work of literature has an owl in it, has reduced me to some kind of verbal scavenger - a monster! a wretch! - barely able to enjoy a book like a normal human being. But I was right! "To the left rose an old abandoned mill with motionless sails, in the ruins of which a screech owl uttered its sharp, recurrent, and monotonous cry."