Nemonymous (nemonymous) wrote,

'Odalisque' by PF Jeffery (DFL's comments)

Chapter 25 – War


Much politics, history and war, conveyed by dialogue, narration and footnotes – leading to storm and mayhem. All conveyed like the mayhem itself – fast and furious.


Two of my favourite passages this time happen to be footnotes:


Referring to the unfortunate Tabitha Terror and Clarence Clunt as those two plotters seems grotesque. Apart from Sylvia Sneak (a puppet of Berenice Blackheart and Nadine Next) they were the two weakest members of the Nine. Tabitha Terror’s career was marked by repeated manipulation by more astute politicians, most notably Felicity Firewhip. Clarence Clunt was the token man in the Nine and, as such, usually marginalised, and certainly the member with least influence. Both were enslaved shortly after the empers voted to abolish the Nine in favour of the Triumvirate – Tabitha being renamed Titte and Clarence Shitte.



A snapper was a criminal who stole slaves (perhaps so-called because they snapped the bond between mistress and slave). Here, Lady Isobel distinguishes between four kinds of snapper.  Black-traders specialised in reselling working slaves (the name comes from the idea of a black, or hidden, economy). Yard-wallers stole slaves for their own use (the name stemming from the idea of them reaching over their yard walls to steal their neighbours’ slaves). Peckerdillos specialised in slaves to be slaughtered for meat (from the word pecker – although the slaves they stole would normally be blesh). Pollygoggers stole slaves, who had formerly been rich or prominent as persons – to sell to their families, friends or enemies. (The name derives from polly – see chapter 11, note 1 and goggle meaning to look. A pollygogger was thus one who looked for pollies.) The pollygoggers’ business was often accomplished through an intermediary known as a head broker. Rich or prominent people would approach head brokers to secure the release of enslaved persons.


A nice maxim for confusion:


“Your thoughts are scattered from Surrey Port to Cullesdon,”


Enjoyed this song, one that reminded me of the many thousands of girl cheerleaders at the recent real-world Olympic Games opening ceremony in China:


We’re college girls, our flag’s unfurled

Fight, girls, fight!

We’ll do or die, for Lady I

Fight, girls, fight!

Penelope Peace, we’ll stop your lease

Fight, girls, fight!

Juliet Just, your world is bust

Fight, girls, fight!

Daphne D, you’d better flee

Fight, girls, fight!

Felicity Fire, your fate is dire

Fight, girls, fight!

Let rebels fear, for we draw near

Fight, girls, fight!


The following makes the reader think about implications as to the existence of the novel of which this passage is part:


Tuerquelle’s attitude seemed contradictory. She thought it wrong for slaves to be literate, but considered me a better slave for having the art. She certainly had a great reverence for the written word. Although I couldn’t follow her reasoning, it clearly made sense to her


For personal reasons, I liked this bit:


Part of my puzzlement stemmed from there being several strands of good news. One of them concerned Isobel Ironhand. She and the other empers had been removed to Woodmansterne Keep, hard by Ruffet Wood. 


And there is a genuine cliff-hanger for this chapter:


The rock struck a bronze image of the Leather Mistress, producing a note like a muffled gong. Her neck fractured, the head spinning upwards. What goes up must come down – and I was directly in the path of descent. Passibelle – evidently seeing my danger – shoved me, but too late – the world went black.




Whilst grief-sticken



A cliffhanger. And roughly halfway through reading the novel.

My comments on ‘Odalisque’ chapters will continue in about 4 weeks’ time.





Word docs of the actual chapters are freely available to readers of this blog.



The links to all Chapter comments by me are here:





Posted by: newdfl on 9/6/2008 9:16:51 AM , 6 comments

Submitted by des at 9/6/2008 10:38:28 AM

Perhaps 'goggle' in that footnote is akin to 'google'? ;-)

Submitted by Pet at 9/6/2008 2:30:52 PM

Typo now corrected.

It was a strange one. Going into the chapter, I found that "sticken" was underlined in red by the spell check. Given the red underlining, how could it have possibly escaped my attention?

A mystery!

Submitted by Pet at 9/6/2008 2:36:04 PM

This is the only chapter in the entire book that doesn't end with what I call a "snapshot paragraph".

A "snapshot paragraph" is one that records sensory impressions at a given time and place, but contains nothing that moves the story on. It is a quiet point with which to begin and end chapters. In this case, Tuerqui is unconscious and hence there are no sensory impressions.

Submitted by Pet at 9/6/2008 2:44:16 PM

Interesting that the footnotes provided a couple of favourite passages, this time. In this chapter especially, the footnotes tell the story behind the story. The story of what is going on in the world beyond Tuerqui's immediate knowledge. As (roughly half way through the book) these events in the wider world are to precipitate one of the more radical shifts in the storyline, the footnotes play a more than usually key role at this point.

Thank you for the comments!


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