Reading Response #3 (due Sept. 19)

Please read until page 240 of Motherless Brooklyn, and respond to the two questions below. The TOTAL for the two responses should be a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 300 words (so, about 100-150 words for each question). Please cite at least one passage in each response.

  • Look carefully at Lionel’s interactions with Kimmery in her apartment. What is different about Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery as his relationships with everyone else? In other words, what is different about how Lionel feels around her, and about how she treats him?
  • How would you describe Lionel’s conversation with Gerard? How does Lionel feel around Gerard, and how does Gerard treat Lionel?

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While I encourage you to read and be inspired by each other’s responses, each response must be completed individually. Feel free to quote each other, if you like. If you do, just make sure you give credit to the original author. If your post is too similar to any posts above yours, I’ll assume you copied it/them.

The responses are always due before class on the due date. You must attend class in order to be eligible for a grade on your response.

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37 thoughts on “Reading Response #3 (due Sept. 19)

  1. Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery is different from his with the rest of his contemporaries primarily through the fact that like him, she is also in the midst of a mid-life crisis and feels a sense of detachment from the rest of the world, a trait that leads Lionel to grow an emotional attachment towards her, one that shows both signs of possessiveness and makes her appear as though she is an emotional crutch to him. He states “Disappointment ha crept over me, impossible to justify or perfectly define. I suppose I’d imagined us in Kimmery’s childlike foyer, her West Side tree house, and three cats hiding. But now I understood she was rootless, alienated in this space” (Lethem 213). Because of his attachment, as well as his thoughts about Gerard, Lionel is desperate to keep Kimmery safe, not just for her sake but for his own emotional state as well.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard comes off as very cryptic, with Lionel remaining heavily suspicious of Gerard and his motives, while Gerard appears to view Lionel as very pitiful. Lionel notices at one point that “Now [Gerard] beamed munificently. The worse I attacked him, the deeper his forgiveness and grace would be” (232), making it seem as though Gerard is simply mocking him and his desire to understand the reason behind Frank’s murder. Despite this, Gerard does seem to sway Lionel’s emotions at many points during their conversation, as he plants ideas in Lionel’s head that makes him completely rethink through what he has spent his time trying to find out, wondering if everything is a conspiracy against him and whether or not Gerard is in fact actually telling him the truth that he had never been aware of.

    Jerry Huang

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  2. Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery is something that he doesn’t have with any other character. Kimmery treats Lionel like a person a not like someone who is a freak show. When Lionel is with Kimmery in her apartment and they are becoming more intimate, Lionel begins to tic less and less. When Kimmery is saying that Lionel is strange she also implies that ” No, but I mean strange in a good way, too” ( 211). Kimmery understand Lionel and accepts him for who he is and because she feels this way, Lionel feels that it’s his duty to protect her.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard was to the point and simple. Near the beginning of the conversation I felt that Lionel was a bit nervous about going to speak to Minna’s brother. Lionel was treating Gerard was respect but kept assuming and arguing that he was the who wanted ( or ordered someone) to kill Minna. Gerard treats Lionel with a bit more respect and is trying to tell Lionel to ” Avoid them, Lionel, if you can.” ( 235) Gerard is telling Lionel to keep his distant from these men because they are dangerous. He has an overall respect for Lionel and wants to attempt to keep him safe.

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  3. Lionel’s interaction with Kimmery is different compared to the other characters because he has become emotionally attached to Kimmery. “Kimmery leaned against me as if we were still in the cab. I didn’t need the support to stand anymore, but I didn’t stop it from happening” (Lethem 206). This just goes to show he has become very comfortable with Kimmery and through interactions with her we see Lionel show us signs of concern for her. Lionel also feels that he and Kimmery are the same “I suppose I’d imagine……and the forest of skyscrapers” (Lethem 213). They were two individuals who detached themselves from the world Kimmery used the Zendo and Lionel used L&L these two places weren’t homes but to Kimmery and Lionel it was because that’s all they really had.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard made him rethink the whole murder case of Frank Minna. Just when Lionel thought he was going to bust Gerard for killing Frank, Gerard makes Lionel think differently about the situation in making him believe the Fujisaki Corporation are the ones that killed Frank and Ullman. Gerard’s calmness made Lionel freak out because he knew Gerard from the past and knows very well this isn’t the real Gerard “I took a deep breath. Gerard’s serenity called out of me a storm of compensatory voices, a myriad possible shrieks and insults to stanch” (Lethem 229). Gerard treats Lionel fairly which kind of shocks Lionel “He sat beaming Zen pleasantness…..He didn’t have to answer my questions” (Lethem 233). Lionel was basically interrogating him as a suspect but Gerard answered every question Lionel asked and was very cooperative. This forces Lionel to maybe believe Gerard and to carry on his investigation with his newly acquired information he now has.

    Anthony Sciola

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  4. Lionel finds in Kimmery a sense of peace that he has trouble finding with others. Kimmery is able to soothe Lionel with her presence alone, this gives Lionel peace from his tics which he so often describes full of anger and hate. His relationship with Kimmery is also important because it is the first woman/girl he has a connection with and that emotion is returned Lionel finds in Kimmery a sense of peace that he has trouble finding with others. Kimmery is able to soothe Lionel with her presence alone, this gives Lionel peace from his tics which he so often describes full of anger and hate. His relationship with Kimmery is also important because it is the first woman/girl he has a connection with and that emotion is returned. Lionel feels very protective about her even though he barely knows her. Lionel is still quite childish because of his inexperience and this is seen clearly “Kimmery touched one hand, just briefly, as I withdrew it.” (217) It is an important step for Lionel because he starts maturing thanks to several things including Kimmery.
    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard is reminiscent for him, he idolizes Frank in the conversation pulling his sayings into the conversation in an effort to disrupt Gerard’s Zen like attitude. Lionel feel an anger towards Gerard for many reasons and puts that anger into his interrogation which unfortunately hampers his efforts to derive the information he needs from Gerard. The conversation does evolve, “When he spoke again, it was with a confidence that sympathy flowed between us untrammeled by doubt or fear.” (234) This seems to be the turning point where Lionel and Gerard come to a common intent in the conversation and they are able to fully listen to each other and as a result communicate efficiently.

    Thomas Leclaire

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  5. Lionel’s intimate relationship is different than his relationships with everyone else. He feels more comfortable around Kimmery, and his tics occur less often when he’s with her. “[Lionel] wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to [him] this late in the day…” (Lethem, 211) In other words, her presence soothes him. Lionel feels connected to her because they both have nowhere to go, and they have no one else besides each other: “…now I understood that she was rootless, alienated in this space. The Oreo Man’s house was her home, or possibly the Zendo, just as L&L was mine […] None of us could go to those places, so we huddled here together, avoiding the big room and the forest of skyscrapers. (213)” Kimmery doesn’t belittle him or make him feel like he’s a freakshow like some other characters did. She accepts him for who he is, despite his Tourette’s syndrome. “You’re strange to me,” said Kimmery. “Don’t feel bad about it,” said [Lionel]. “No, but I mean strange in a good way, too.” (218) Although Kimmery has just met Lionel, she invites him to her house and lets him sleep there, too. This proves that she trusts him.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard allows Lionel to learn more information about the murder case. During their conversation, Gerard treats Lionel as a kid, and sees him like his younger brother Frank Minna. In fact, he said that Lionel “[wears] his ignorance as aggressively as Frank (Lethem, 231)”. He treats him like he knows nothing. Lionel feels a bit uneasy around Gerard and doesn’t know which questions he should ask, and is unable to ask him all of the questions that he was thinking about. Gerard tells him things that he didn’t know before, which makes him realize that he might have been wrong, and perhaps Gerard wasn’t actually responsible for Frank’s death as he thought he was. Lionel feels like he can’t really trust him, but at the same time he’s not sure if what he says is true or not. This makes him rethink and doubt what he knew previously about the case. “[He] needed to step outside the candle glow of Gerard’s persuasiveness to sort out the false and the real, the Zen and the chaff in [their] long discussion. (Lethem, 236)”

    Claudia Keurdjekian

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  6. Throughout the story Lionel has developed and forged special relationships with his entourage . However , the reader can feel that the protagonist started to act and feel different when he is accompanied with Kimmery.It seems like he loses all his “common sense” , for once in his life he finally experiences the sensation of love ,acceptance from others, nurture ,tic- soothing , a comforting feeling but “senseless in the same time” . For instance when Kimmery touched his hands , the detective no longer appreciate nor dulcify the moments passed together . Essrog conveys the impression of a tendency of having more sexual attraction to Kimmery rather than having “real” emotions towards her . Hence the hard-boiled is once again resurfacing , showing a man being “absent-minded” focused on his investigation and feed his sexual urges ;

    “ I’m numb to her now , though.She no longer soothed my tics, and the attention she’d begun to give them was humiliating.I needed to get this interview back on an official basis. [ … ] I’d shuttered myself and against Kimmery’s tenderness toward me , even shuttered away from my own tenderness toward her .She was an incompetent witness , beyond that a distraction .And I was an investigator who supplied my own distractions ,too many.” (Lethem , 217-218)

    From the moment Lionel entered the Zendo , he seemed to be suspicious of everyone especially Roshi , Gerard Minna. At the beginning of the conversation the protagonist , who is acting like Frank, is always on his guard and distrustful about Gerard’s answers. However , his expectations are totally swept away like dust twirling in the air . The man that he once knew was not the same or only “seemed different” . It is with great surprise that Gerard answered all of Lionel’s questions without questioning him back and with “pure honesty” and more respect, he seemed to be completely trustworthy and transparent . Even if Gerard gives a good impression ,the reader as much as Lionel are confused ; is he in reality manipulating him and in a way playing with Lionel’s mind like a marionette and leading him in a false path ? The passage that confirms it even more is ;

    “And I needed to step outside the candle glow of Gerard’s persuasiveness to sort out the false and the real , the Zen and the chaff in our long discussion.” ( Lethem , 236)

    Leila Bencherif

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  7. Kimmery genuinely questions Lionel and cares for his well-being and what he’s going through as she is going through a break up and tough situation herself. Lionel feels as though he can open up to Kimmery and he feels comfortable in her presence as she has a lot of patience for him and his tics do not phase her. He states that “Kimmery leaned closer, comforting the cat, not me. But I felt comforted.” (215). Similarly to Kimmery who is seeking for more “detachment” (213), Lionel is also looking to get away from Tony and the rest of the Minna Men to figure things out on his own and be successful in doing so. As she constantly reassures Lionel that everything will be okay, Lionel is unworried when getting intimate with her which isn’t something he does very often.

    Gerard remained calm and Zen throughout his and Lionel’s entire conversation. It is evident that Gerard’s lack of reaction gets Lionel frustrated when he says, “Gerard’s serenity called out of me a storm of compensatory voices, a myriad possible shrieks and insults to stanch.” (229). Gerard tells Lionel things that he’s never heard of before and it makes him come to several realizations which forces Lionel to question everything he’s concluded up to date. While it is evident that Lionel’s characteristics mirror those of Frank, Gerard states that “You wear your ignorance as aggressively as Frank. I suppose you’re making my point for me.” (231). He somewhat lectures Lionel by telling him that Frank Minna wasn’t a good teacher, and he trained them to be rather “two-dimensional” (231) which is shocking to hear for Lionel. It seems as though Gerard wants to lead him in the right direction and ensure that he’s safe and avoids trouble.

    Sara Vetere

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  8. The chapter that relates the Lionel’s interaction with Kimmery is one of my favorite moments till this point in the novel. We see a different side of Lionel, a caring, loving and protective: ”… confused and worried – conworried-by my discovery of Gerard Minna inside the Zendo, and unhappy to have left Kimmery…” (p. 203). Moreover, his tics almost disappear meaning he is not nervous, and is feeling relaxed and confident : ”I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to me this late in the day.” (p. 211) Kimmery accepts him the way he is, and she is not making fun of him, she finds his tics funny and even encourages him to express himself and not restrain his tics:
    ” You can say whatever you want,” Kimmery whispered.
    ”What do you mean?”
    ”The words.” (219)
    In this chapter we discovered a new side of Lionel, his tendency for affection and love.
    Zendo is the place where Frank Minna was killed, and Lionel was always suspicious about that place. Finding out who was Roshi, the owner of the place, reinforced his suspicions. He acts precautiously at the beginning of the conversation: ”Doormen could come through the open doors, anyone knew that… Mind if I close this?” (229) He was nervous, but at the same time his desire to discover who killed Frank was so strong that he overpassed them and faced Gerald. More the conversation went on, Lionel’s feelings were changing, they turned from nervousness to desperation to impress. He wanted to impress Gerald on who he is today, and everything he did for Frank: ” I was desperate to see him flinch, to impress him with the edge I had, the things I’d learned, but Gerald wasn’t ruffled.” (231) However, Gerald kept calm and was answering Lionel’s questions with no hesitations, and even show concern about Lionel’s safety :”’Avoid them, Lionel, if you can,’ he continued. ‘ They’re dangerous men.”’ (235) Nevertheless, the conversation was useful for Lionel as it helped him to find new pieces to the puzzle.

    Marcela S.

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  9. Lionel acts very different with Kimmery than he does with other characters. From when he first met her, we can see a different Lionel being presented to us. He becomes a more confident and protective Lionel. When Lionel is taken back to Kimmery’s apartment, we can see several different examples of intimacy between them. Both Lionel and Kimmery have a mutual sense of protection towards each other. Kimmery does not fully understand Lionel’s condition but she nonetheless accepts him and wants to discover this real side of him. We see this while they are having intercourse, Kimmery says ‘‘its okay to talk… I like when you talk. When you make sounds.’’ (Lethem 222). Lionel also finds a connection with her that just like he, she feels ‘‘alienated’’ from society. ‘‘But now I understood that she was rootless, alienated in this space. The Oreo Man’s house was her home, or possibly the Zendo, just as L&L was mine, just as Shelf’s was elsewhere, too. None of us could go to those places, so we huddled here together avoiding the big room and the forest of skyscrapers.’’ (Lethem 213). Lionel makes this realization and understands that he enjoys Kimmery’s presence because she treats him as an equal and more importantly, for once in his life, not a freak.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard was a very unique one. Throughout the conversation, Lionel was very protective in interrogating Gerard and very careful of how to present the information. However, the more protective he got the more like Frank Minna did he sound. Lionel constantly used ‘‘Minna-ism’s’’ (Lethem 233) and quotes ‘‘Frank Minnas’s sarcasm’’ (Lethem 232). In doing so, this made Gerard treat Lionel more like he would frank. During the conversation, we can see Gerard persuades (or manipulates) Lionel several times into believing he had nothing to do with the murder of his brother. We can see this manipulation occur slowly throughout the conversation. At first Lionel feels very angered at Gerard and wants to finally catch the killer of his late boss. However, through much persuasion Lionel slowly feels sympathy and starts harvesting the idea that Gerard is innocent and unconsciously changes his position on who is the real suspect. ‘‘Gerard’s persuasiveness was a variant of the Minna style, I saw now. I felt the force of it, moving me authentically’’(Lethem 234).

    Steven Colalillo

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  10. The first thing I noticed in this scene was the trust that Kimmery has for Lionel. Before even settling into the apartment, Kimmerly admits to being an “illegal sublet” (207). She is the second woman (after Julia) to show interest in Lionel and appears to care for him and his differences. Kimmery has the ability to sooth Lionel’s ticcing, until she began paying too much attention to them. Although Kimmery’s intention was to appreciate Lionel’s uniqueness, he explains that “she no longer soothed my tics, and the attention she’d begun to give them was humiliating” (217). At first, we are so deep into the thoughts of Lionel that I almost forget he was there primarily to investigate in the crime. He thinks about being the first to see past her bedroom door (207). Then the mood shifts, and what stuck with me was the suspicion that arose from their conversation. There is something about Kimmery’s story that does not add up, and Lionel is getting frustrated as he explains that he “was ticcing out of sheer frustration” (217). Both Lionel and I become frustrated and almost disappointed when Kimmery seems to be defending “Roshi” and the giant so easily and innocently.
    My first thought from Lionel’s conversion with Gerard was that Gerard was attempting to intimidate Lionel. Gerard was speaking to Lionel as if he was an idiot, a child, and someone below him. He tells him almost sarcastically, “You’re speaking without thinking, I recall your difficulty in that area” (229). It is clear that Gerard was trying to manipulate Lionel and use Buddhism to explain certain aspects of the crime. Lionel was quick to notice though as he says “Gerard’s persuasiveness was a variant of the Minna style” (235). Lionel was on edge throughout the conversation, and afraid of being attacked. Just like Kimmery, in my opinion, Gerard’s story did not add up either. There was that “nod of complicity”(236) that Lionel purposely did not address.

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  11. In this section of the book, Kimmery and Lionel have a unique interaction with each other that Lionel never encountered before. Kimmery is the first girl that seems to be attracted to Lionel for who he is and doesn’t get bothered by his tics, and instead, Kimmery shows interest and care for them by asking him “How does it feel when you do that” (217). She wants to know and learn more about it, and asks Lionel “What do the words mean,” treating Lionel as an actual person and not just a freak show (217). Lionel felt free to tic and say what he wanted in front of her since she had always been encouraging it as something normal.

    When Lionel first stepped into Gerard’s bedroom at the Zendo, the first thing he does when he encounters Gerard is, tic “Thehorrorthehorror,” meaning that he felt uneasy and nervous (229). However, surprisingly, Gerard answered truthfully to Lionel’s questions and made Lionel rethink the whole situation, as he shared dark secrets that not even Frank discussed with his Minna Men:
    “Do you recall that he once had to Leave New York for a while?
    Did I recall! Suddenly Gerard threatened to solve the deepest puzzles of my existence. I practically wanted to ask him, So who’s Bailey? (235)
    Therefore, Gerard treated Lionel as an adult and respected him, by responding with clear answers, almost good enough for Lionel to trust him.

    Julia Graziani

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  12. In this part of the reading Lionel spends some intimate time with Kimmery whom we know he cares deeply about. Kimmery is special to Lionel and he always feel the need to protect her or look out for her for example when he tells her “Promise me you won’t go back to the Zendo. At least for a few days.” (224) It’s clear that Kimmery also relieves Lionel’s verbal tics. His physical Tourettic tendencies are still present like when she was caressing his leg and he immediately started doing the same to her. Also Kimmery forces Lionel to embrace his tics while she’s around him. She doesn’t mind his tics and actually asks him to say something to which she clarifies and asks him to “say something. The way you do.” (222)

    During his encounter with Gerard Minna, who now goes by the name Roshi, Lionel breaks into a series of tics which were probably triggered by his nervousness to talk to Gerard. In the beginning of their conversation Gerard felt the need to point out to Lionel that “[he’s] speaking without thinking” and that “[he] recalls [his] difficulties in that area.” (229) This particular passage bothers me because despite the fact that Gerard is now supposed to be kinder and “in a better place”, he doesn’t understand Lionel’s condition and continues to think that he has power over what he says when he really doesn’t. Towards the end of the passage though, Gerard feels the need to look out for Lionel by warning him about Matricardi and Rockaforte and the Fujisaki Corporation, as well as informing him on what Frank Minna actually did all those years while mentoring the Minna Men. This leads me to believe that Gerard isn’t the bad guy that Lionel is looking for.

    Konstantina Vanikiotis

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  13. The relationship that Lionel and Kimmery have is a unique one, not similar to any other relationships Lionel shares with anyone else. Lionel feels like he can be himself around Kimmery because she doesn’t act any different around him. Lionel also doesn’t tic as much because of how comfortable he is around her, he feels some sort of connection. “I wasn’t ticking much, for a couple of reasons […] Minna’s killer.” (Lethem 211). Lionel shows a more protective side of himself when he is with Kimmery. Both characters feel like they can open up to each other. They are also attracted to each other so maybe that’s why they feel this connection.

    The discussion shared between Lionel and Gerard is one to remember. Lionel is trying to get information about the murder of his old boss, but while he is doing this Gerard tells him things he never heard before. Lionel is suspicious about Gerard and Gerard remains very calm knowing how Lionel feels about him. Lionel also notices that Gerard has many similar traits as Frank did, which gets Lionel even more suspicious and mad. Lionel is also ticking more throughout this conversation, one of them is “Go-fisticate-a-killphone” (Lethem 233). This shows that he is nervous throughout the conversation.

    Giuseppe Gallo

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  14. During the scene where Lionel is at Kimmery’s apartment, there are many things that happen. First of all, one thing that was so special about Kimmery is how she treated Lionel. During his whole life, Lionel was perceived as a crazy man due to his Tourette syndrome. He caught everyone’s attention with his tics. However, it seemed that Kimmery wasn’t really paying attention to his tics. When she questioned about it, Lionel told her, “I just shout sometimes. And touch things. And count things. And think about them too much.” (214) Kimmery replied, “I’ve heard of that. I think” and Lionel says, “You’re the exception to the rule if you have.” (214) Most people that Lionel encountered never heard about Tourette. So, they taught that Lionel made up this disease. If I were in Lionel’s shoes, I would definitely feel alone and retarded. I feel that when Lionel is talking to Kimmery, he is more open and sincere. For the first time. Lionel talks normally without a vocalizing many tics. Futhermore, we can read a passage where Kimmery utters “it’s okay” numerous time and this is a relief for Lionel. Lionel says, “Okay, Okay: Here was Kimmery’s tic, in evidence at last. ”(221) The fact that he says “at last” demonstrated that he is relieved. He isn’t the only one that expresses tics. There are other people out there that have tics.

    In the conversation between Lionel and Gerald, we can see that the narrator is trying to assert dominance. Lionel comes in the room and directly attacks Gerald. Quickly, Gerald puts him back where he belongs. Gerald told him “You’re speaking without thinking, […], I recall your difficulties in that area” (229). When I was reading this passage, I was imagining Gerald telling this to Lionel in a calm tone. The way that Gerald handled the situation made me feel that Lionel’s confidence dropped faster than speeding bullet. Gerald treated Lionel how he deserved to be treated. He was telling him calmly and genuinely the truth about his life and his role model, Frank. Also, I felt that during the conversation, Gerald changed Lionel’s perspective on the assassination of Frank. Gerald told Lionel, “He (Frank) kept you charmed and flattered but also in the dark, so your sense of even his small world was diminished, two- dimensional.” (231) Even though Lionel was replying in a sarcastic way, I am sure that these words stroked him. Lionel used sarcasm to keep his confidence elevated. Finally, Gerald was really useful because he reoriented Lionel’s investigation.

    Ilyas Mohamed

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  15. Lionel had a special connection with Frank before he passed away but then came Kimmerly into Lionel’s life. Their bond together has intimate feelings and a comfortable bond. Lionel has developed “another frame of mind” since Frank got stabbed, he is focused, serious and much more careful with who he is with. When Lionel first got brought back to her apartment, they both have seen to be comfortable with each other. Kimmerly admits to Lionel right off the bat that being an “illegal sublet” (Lethem 207). When speaking to Kimmerly, Lionel feels and senses that Kimmerly feels alienated from everyone and so does Lionel because of his tics and that’s another reason why they have the bond. “…now I understood that she was rootless, alienated in this space. The Oreo Man’s house was her home, or possibly the Zendo, just as L&L was mine […] None of us could go to those places, so we huddled here together, avoiding the big room and the forest of skyscrapers” (Lethem 213). Kimmerly seems to want to accept how Lionel’s is with the tics and wants to accept him for who he is. ‘‘It’s okay to talk… I like when you talk. When you make sounds’’ (Lethem 222). Or also “How does it feel when you do that” (217). She asks all these questions trying to understand him and by asking these questions, Lionel feels comfortable with her.
    Lionel and Gerard had a very interesting and special first interaction. During the conversion/ interrogation, Lionel is nervous and scared when he walks in the room seeing Gerrard. Lionel starts to tic and Gerrard feels that Lionel is new at this and not comfortable with him. “Thehorrorthehorror,” (Lethem229). Later into the interrogation Gerrard notices that Lionel is trying too hard and isn’t use to this area. He later calms down and gets to work on Gerrard. “You’re speaking without thinking, I recall your difficulty in that area” (Lethem 229). Lionel starts acting like Frank in way such that he asks questions with authority or they type of questions that were being asked. Gerrard answers them but in a way that can manipulate Lionel and him starts to be aggressive with him but later calms down and starts concluding his thoughts on him. “Gerard’s persuasiveness was a variant of the Minna style” (Lethem 235).
    Alexander Vincelli

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  16. Lionel doesn’t have the same relationship with other characters than he does with Kimmery. Unlike Lionel’s other peers, Kimmery treats him with a lot more respect. People would treat and talk to him as if they were looking down on him. When she asked what was wrong with him, “the question was delivered evenly, without sarcasm or fear, as though she really wanted an answer” (Lethem 214). This allows us to believe that Kimmery is a genuine person. Lionel feels like she is the type of person she can trust and talk to. Before her, he did not really have anyone he could open up to.

    At first, I would say Lionel felt sort of uncomfortable around Gerard. Only because he did not know much about him and he suspected him to have some sort of relation with the murder of Frank Minna. However, after having the conversation in this chapter, you can tell that Lionel feels a little bit of sureness towards Gerard because he was “lulled by his compassionate tones” (235). Gerard treats Lionel in a neutral manner. He does not speak to him condescendingly but he is still somewhat polite. I believe this is because he is somewhat saddened by Frank’s death and he knows that Lionel was a good friend of his.

    Eduard Panopio.

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  17. Lionel and Kimmery’s relationship is unlike any other in the novel. While everyone else treats him like a freakshow act or a cartoon character, Kimmery treats him like a complex, fragile human being; she personifies him. Lionel also seems soothed by her presence, comparing her to an “unprecedented balm” (211). However, as soon as she draws attention to his sporadic tics, asking him “what [the] words mean”, he returns to a state of agitation (217). Lionel is usually impartial about his tics and how they frame his outward appearance, but in front of her, he is overtly self-conscious. Kimmery attempts to peel back the layers, knowing that there’s something deeper to understand about him. Lionel openly admits that “the attention she’d begun to give [his] tics was humiliating,” painting him as a vulnerable and guarded person (217). Their “tug of war” is interesting because she is the first person in Lionel’s life who encourages him to express himself, unlike all the other characters who display thinly veiled apprehension toward his condition. From this apartment scene we also learn that Lionel cares deeply for her, asking her if she’s locked the door and making her promise not to return to the Zendo. She is special to him, the same way he is special to her. This is the first truly reciprocal, balanced relationship.

    The conversation between Lionel and Gerard marks a turning point in the novel. The theme of identity is at the forefront of the story; every page depicts Lionel’s struggle to assert his place in the world and the struggle to define himself. When Gerard asks for his friends names’, Lionel instinctively replies: “Who? The Minna Men?” (231). This reply confirms that Lionel’s identity is based largely on the group he has associated with all his life. It is evident that Lionel feels uncomfortable in this scene, mainly because he tries to paint the man in front of him as a memory of a man from long ago. He is perturbed by the façade; “A part of [Lionel] wanted to cajole [Gerard] out from behind his Zen front, expose the Lord of Court Street lurking, make him Frank’s older brother again” (229). Gerard is so forthcoming with thoughtful, sincere answers that Lionel becomes disillusioned and is increasingly convinced that not everything is the way Frank Minna made it out to be. Minna only shared a narrowminded perspective of the world with his disciples, and thus they grew up misinformed. I think that Lionel is so accepting of Gerard’s words because he is treated with dignity and respect. Gerard doesn’t make a spectacle of him or mock him for his tics. He treats him like a grown man.

    Vanessa Correia

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  18. The interaction between Lionel and Kimmery is somewhat intimate and sensual. Lionel never had that close of a relationship with a woman, even with Minna’s wife. Without knowing Lionel very well, Kimmery accepts him as he is and the syndrome that he has. Also, Lionel has less tendencies in ticcing around her and he himself justifies it: “I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to me this late in the day.”(211) He even ticced so less that Kimmery insists him to cry words out of the blue. In fact, for them to have an intimate relationship is also because they have some similarities which Lionel points out; they are both rootless and alienated because of Kimmery living in someone’s apartment or the Zendo, like Lionel in L&L.(213) Not to mention that Lionel is also comfortable enough around her to give out any information about the murder case he is trying to solve.

    As for the interaction between Lionel and Gerard Minna, Gerard Minna always mentions how much Lionel resembles to his brother, Frank Minna. As an example, Gerard says, “…You sound just like [Frank Minna] when you speak.” Also, Gerard mentions how odd his brother is and he does not think highly of him. As when he says to Lionel, “You wear your ignorance as aggressively as Frank.”(231) Their whole conversation is all about the similarities between Lionel and Frank, and all the questioning from Lionel to find out the murder of Frank. Throughout their conversation, all of what Lionel came up about the murder case just burned into ashes after Gerard proved his innocence. At one point, Lionel also tried to impress him as of how far he dug up to find all the information he has, but Gerard kept his calm saying that Minna kept Lionel in the dark, “[Frank Minna] kept you charmed and flattered but also in the dark…”(231)

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  19. Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery is one of mutual understanding and respect. With Kimmery Lionel feels calm and Kimmery treats him like a normal person and not someone who is a “crazy man” or ” freak show.” Kimmery makes Lionel comfortable ” I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still and unprecedented balm to me this late in the day.” (Pg. 211) Lionel is also able to see how similar he and Kimmery are as they are both “rootless” as he describes it. Lionel feels unjudged with Kimmery and feels that he can really be himself and think clearly when he is with her.
    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard was very easy and for the most part calm which was interesting in my opinion. It felt as though Gerard may have felt some sympathy for Lionel and what happened to Minna but I also feel as though he was hiding behind this facade of Zen with Lionel. Gerard wanted to make Lionel trust him and because of this it was more suspicious to me. Gerard tried to manipulate Lionel throughout the conversation while Lionel tried to get a rise out of him because he didn’t really believe the new Zen Gerad that was in front of him. He knew that there was a possibility that Gerard was working with the people who had killed Minna. Lionel pushed as much as he could with him but Gerard never broke Zen ” Now he beamed munificently. The worse I attacked him, the deeper his forgiveness and grace would be- thats what the smile said.” (Pg. 232) Gerard treated Lionel as if he was someone he cared about and what happens to him and the Minna men but I think it was just part of his plan to get Lionel to drop his guard and not look any further into him being involved with Minnas death.

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  20. Lionel’s interaction with Kimmery is very different from that of with his other mates. Our protagonist himself says that one of the reasons why he “wasn’t ticcing much […] was Kimmery” (211). In my opinion, this is because they are both still trying to find their places in the society, making them similar to each other and understanding or “feeling” one another. Also, Lionel is now very attached to and intimate with Kimmery in that they engage in sexual acts. As Kimmery touches “one [of his] hands, [Lionel becomes] numb to her” (217). This is another instance (after Julia) pointing to an aspect of hardboiled fiction where the main character is enticed by a “femme fatale.”

    Lionel and Gerard are two different people with seemingly dissimilar personalities and interests in life. When Lionel got into the Zendo after availing Kimmery’s key, he finds Gerard and quickly attempts to get him to his side by telling a joke as an introduction, then informs Gerard that he knows “about the [Park Avenue] building […] and the Fujisaki Corporation” (230). It seems like Essrog is trying to impress Frank’s brother. However, Gerard is not very impressed. He talks down on Lionel as if he is just a kid. Right off the bat, he tells Lionel that he is “speaking without thinking” and that he recalls Lionel’s “difficulties in that area” (229). In other words, Lionel somehow feels like he has an ally in the person of Gerard while Gerard seems to think of his brother’s adopted as though he is an innocent and careless child trying to act like he knows much.

    Mikaela Cuaycong

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  21. In this part of the story, we can see Lionel as a completely different person when he interacts with Kimmery. He hasn’t acted this way with any other characters. Kimmery and Lionel have an emotional interaction that makes them be open to each other and then be closer to each other. This happened when they were alone in her apartment. They felt the interaction between them. Especially when he tells us how they begin kissing “I didn’t have to turn her face to mine to kiss her. It was already there when I turned” (220). And this little interaction between two “friends” changed to something more. He is not saying this straight, but we do understand what is going on.
    The conversation between Lionel and Gerard was more official than friendly. Lionel uses Gerard as a person who can help him to find the killer. Lionel sees Gerard as the person who can give him more information about everybody who was around Minna. But Gerard knew how “My brother (Minna) was very important to the four of you (231). Later on, when Gerard had let a long minute pass, he said: “with a confidence that sympathy flowed between us untrammelled by doubt or fear” (234). Gerard lets Lionel know more information about “The Clients” that he never thought about.

    Karyna Statko

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  22. Lionels relationship with Kimmery is very unique in the way he interacts with her. We are used to seeing Lionel on edge watching him self and his tics, he does not like to embarrass him self and make a scene. His interactions with other characters until this point in the novel have followed a similar pattern until we are introduced to Kimmery. When he is with Kimmery we are shown a different side, we see him in a more relaxed state, where he feels significantly more comfortable then any other point of the story. The way Lionel describes her also shows how comfortable he feels with her, “(Lionel) wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to (him) this late in the day…” (211). His ability to feel more comfortable with Kimmery allows him to interact with women differently then ever before. “I’d never before kissed a woman without having had a few drinks. And ive never kissed a woman who hadn’t had a few herself.” (220)

    Gerars conversation with Lionel did not follow Lionels plan. Lionel’s intention was to bust Gerard for killing his brother Frank, however Gerard convinces Lionel other wise. Gerard believes that the Fujisaki Corporations are the ones responsible for Franks death. Lionel speaks to Gerard like he is investigating him; he was constantly questioning Gerard and trying to get as much information from him as possible. His body language shows that he was not particularly comfortable speaking with Gerard, “I took a deep breath. Gerard serenity called out of me a storm of compensatory voices, a myriad possible shrieks and insults to stanch. (229)

    Nadav Sarid

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  23. Ever since Lionel met Kimmery at the Zendo, he always felt the need to protect her. In her appartement, Lionel appears very comfortable around her because she easily accepts his condition as a part of him. She does not judge him so easily like other characters, actually she finds “strange in a good way”. In this scene, Lionel seems to improve his control over his tics. He is able to continue asking her question without bursting random words or sound at every sentence which demonstrates his ease when he is with her.
    “But just as Kimmery had somehow spared me ticcing aloud in conversation, now I felt free to incorporate an element of Tourre0te’s into our own groping, as though she were negotiating a new understanding between my two disgruntled brains.”(p.220) Kimmery makes him feel like he can be himself around her. In the end, she actually loves his tics which makes their relationship special because everyone else would more likely find him irritating.

    During Lionel’s conversation with Gerald, he wanted to intimidate Gerald into confessing the murder of Frank but he seemed to be the one who was intimidated by him: ” I was desperate to see him flinch, to impress him with the edge I had, the things I’d learned, but Gerard wasn’t ruffled.” (p.231) His tics also gave away his nervouness facing Gerald. He tried to handle the situation because he was convinced he knew everything and that he could scare Gerald. He wanted to be like Frank, the way the Minna Men admired him. However, to Gerald, Frank was nothing but ignorant and childish. Therefore, he sees Lionel similar to Frank, but not in an admirable way. He treats him just as if he was still an innocent and gullilble kid like before in the orphanage, problably just as he must have treated Frank.

    Jemirille Bajala-Tuazon

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  24. Kimmery and Lionel have a peculiar relationship when comparing to every other relationship Lionel has in his life. I say that it is odd for Lionel that such a connection with someone, and for him to feel the way he does around another person is just unusual for him. Kimmery makes him feel like he is just normal and she does not treat him like he is any less than her. Most of Lionel’s relationship involve people treating him like a freak and only distinguishing him for his condition, rather than for his personality. Kimmery does the exact opposite; she values him for his personality and rather ignores his condition. This makes Lionel seem more at ease, therefore his tics tend to go away when around her: “[Lionel] I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, […]” (211). She also made him feel safe, which contributed to him feeling less nervous, therefore reducing his ticcing.

    If we would compare Lionel’s relationship with Gerard to the one he has with Kimmery, we could say that they are exact opposites. There’s a certain lack of trust from Lionel’s part and he seems to not feel comfortable around him. The fact that Gerard remains so calm during the entire conversation adds to Lionel’s skepticism towards him. Although Lionel was trying to keep calm and keep his cool in order to get information out of Gerard, we could see that he wanted to impress him as well. Gerard picked up on Lionel’s new self-confidence and associated with the one Frank Minna had, making him treat Lionel like he was his little brother. This meant that throughout the conversation we could see at times that Gerard manipulates Lionel. Gerard is being quite condescending towards Lionel: “You’re speaking without thinking, I recall your difficulty in that area” (229). This passage shows how Gerard is mean to him, and tries to make him feel lesser in order to manipulate him into thinking that he did not have anything to do with his brother’s murder. Although Lionel remarks what Gerard is doing, we can feel that it did in fact impact his opinion in the matter. Before the conversation, Lionel is frustrated at Gerard and towards the end he seems to trust him and the information he provided him with. The conversation seems to take a turn, and so does the attitude of both parties: “When he spoke again, it was with a confidence that sympathy flowed between us untrammeled by doubt or fear” (234). This passage allows us to conclude that, although the conversation had a rough start, there seemed to have been some level of communication and truthfulness, which made the conversation end well.

    Savana Di Quinzio

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  25. So far, we’ve seen how Lionel interacts with other people and how they interact with him. However, there is something different about his and Kimmery’s relationship; something about the way they act around each other that it is set apart from what we have been seeing up to now. First, there is the obvious fact that Lionel does not feel the urge to tic around her, “I wasn’t ticcing much for a couple of reasons. The first was kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to me this late in the day” (211). With Kimmery, we catch a glimpse of the man Lionel might be if he were Tourette’s free, which is unexplored terrain for him as well. He has time to think now; to analyze clearly all the thoughts that are passing through his head, without having to filter through the usual Tourettic nonsense. When they are petting the cat, Lionel tries to smooth it’s fur while Kimmery tries to rough it up. I find this to be extremely revealing about both characters, how Lionel wants to keep things smooth while they can last, while Kimmery wants things dishevelled, has admitted that she likes Lionel’s constant blabbing. Meaning that this is someone Lionel could open up to; be himself with.
    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard rattled him a lot. Before stepping into Gerard’s room, Lionel was bursting with confidence; sure that he was going to walk in there and startle a dumbfounded Gerard into confessing his role in his brother’s murder, “I was desperate to see him flinch, to impress him with the edge I had, the things I’d learned, but Gerard wasn’t ruffled (231). Gerard’s calm demeanor unsettled Lionel, “Gerards serenity called out of me a storm of compensatory voices, a myriad possible shrieks and insults to stanch. A part of me wanted to cajole him out from behind his zen front, expose the lord of court street lurking, make him Frank’s older brother again” (229). Gerard pities Lionel, he has no true world, only a part of the one Frank Minna exposed him to. Because of this, Gerard does not take Lionel seriously, treats him like you would an ignorant child, which is why he answers Lionel’s questions, even though he does not have to considering that Lionel poses no real threat to him.

    Charlotte Lapointe

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  26. The relationship built between Lionel and Kimmery contrast from his relationships with the other characters. They exchange a mutual trust with each other that can’t be seen in any other relationships that he has so far. Kimmery opens up about herself and reveals to Lionel that she is an “illegal sublet” (207). She then tries to learn more about Lionel by asking him about his tics and how he fells when it occurs. At beginning, he is startled and fells a little uncomfortable with all the attention she gives to his Tourette syndrome. Soon after that,it can be seen that Lionel fells more at ease with her and confesses that know he ” felt free to incorporate an element of Tourette’s into [their] groping”(221).Their close relationship is special to Lionel because Kimmery is the first person who doesn’t treat Lionel as a “freak show” or a foolish person and Lionel senses it.

    The serious conversation between Lionel and Gerard differs drastically from the one seen with Kimmery. His tics that has stopped when he was with Kimmery, emerges back right away. This shows how nervous Lionel’s is at the moment. Gerard treats Lionel as mindless person by telling him “You’re speaking without thinking” and adds on “I recall your difficulties in that area.”(229)
    Minna’s brother doesn’t retain himself to tell Lionel that he” wear [his] ignorance as aggressively as Frank.”(231)

    Amanda Ging Sze Chan

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  27. Kimmery acts as a natural sedative to Lionel’s uncontrollable tenancies more than anybody has in the novel so far; it is as though he enters a different world when she is nearby, a world without frustrating outbursts, strained compulsions and abundant self loathe. She seems to be the only character that sees past his overwhelming Tourrettic veil and focuses on the true, kind-hearted and caring Lionel. It is also nice to see that Lionel briefly puts his self and Tourrette’s to the side and cares about someone else for a change when he feels the need to protect Kimmery from the dangers of the Pierogi Titan: “I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple reasons. The first was Kimmery herself, still an unprecedented balm to me this late in the day” (211). It is as though they have known each other for ages, but in reality they have just met. They must have an interesting subconscious connection because they both played a role in the death of Frank Minna, in one way or another, when Lionel heard her voice through the wire tap and wrote a little description of her in his notebook. The only plausible explanation for all this would have to be wheels within wheels. It is funny, that Kimmery, a person who is potentially tied to Frank Minna’s murder and the main cause of emptiness in Lionel’s life now, is the same person that soothes his eternal and unquenchable Tourretic itch.

    Lonel’s conversation with Gerard was oddly familiar and comforting. Lionel faces the killer who is the most influential figure in his life and I wouldn’t say it went as planned. If anything, Gerard is helpful and aided Lionel reach the next step in his investigation: “Can I ask one more thing?” I nearly called him Roshi, so complete was my conversion” (236). After his conversation with Gerard, Lionel almost seems to be enlightened, highly affected by Gerard’s knowledge and wisdom. Additionally, Lionel seems be very familiar with Gerard although they never actually spoke or knew anything about each other; this may be due to the fact that, Gerard is Frank Minna’s brother and he feels that same connection that he did with Frank, the same confidence in his words and the trust. These feelings of comfort are definitely reciprocated because Gerard goes along with Lionel’s involuntary, Frank Minna inspired joke telling and doesn’t seem to have a problem with, which is unusual given that they are unknown figures to each other and everyone else in the novel have obviously mentioned something about his Tourretic outbursts.

    Lucas Tremblay-Moll

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  28. At the beginning of their relationship, Kimmery seemed unbothered by Lionel’s tics, but as time went on she grew more and more curious about what it must be like to have Tourette’s and her curiosity made him uncomfortable: “she no longer soothed my tics and the attention she’d begun to give them was humiliating” (217). Lionel took this opportunity and turned it into an interview, “in the city on the other side of the door a giant killer lurched around unafraid, and it was my job to find him” (217). Kimmery treats him as an equal. Most other people belittle Lionel, treating him as though he’s a different species because he has a condition, however Kimmery treats him with respect and seems to be genuinely interested in what he has to say, even says he’s strange with a positive connotation. Both Kimmery and Minna had this approach with him making him feel comfortable being himself, which is why I think he’s drawn to her.

    Lionel’s tics get a little out of hand when he firsts comes into contact with Gerard, he seems nervous but doesn’t let that blind him of his surroundings. Throughout their conversation, Jerry Huang describes Lionel as “remaining heavily suspicious of Gerard and his motives”, and I couldn’t have said it better myself. Lionel begins the conversation with Gerard with the intention of proving he’s guilty, although his opinion changes after Gerard helps him get a clearer understanding of the bigger picture. Lionel seems to be certain that Gerard killed his own brother despite Gerard spinning him the other direction, making him question everything he thought he knew about the case. “Do you really believe that [money] came from detective work, from those scuffling little assignments he contrived to keep you children busy?” (231). We have been able to see through past relationships that Lionel gets along better with people who have similar characteristics as Frank Minna. Gerard, being Franks older brother shares so many of the same attributes, and Lionel no longer sees him as the primary suspect, but rather a helpful confidant.

    Chelsea Silva-Martin

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  29. There is a significant difference between the way Lionel communicates with Kimmery and how he interacts with others. When he is in the presence of Kimmery he seems more relaxed and less judged. He still has his ticks but seems less nervous about them. Kimmery also seems intrigued and interested in Lionel’s ticks. She considers them to be a good part of Lionel’s character and it even arouses her in a way. We see her deep interest when Lionel and Kimmery are about to engage in intercourse. Kimmery says “Speak, Lionel” (224), and she replied in a joyous tune when Lionel began to speak as if he was having a tick. This represents her true acceptance of his Tourette’s.

    The relationship between Lionel and Gerard appeared quite tense when we first saw the two introduced. When the characters reconnect again we sense that Lionel is still holding a grudge towards Gerard until they meet in his office. As a reader, I was expecting there to be a big spat but instead they seemed to be getting along seemlessly and Gerard seems to show some concern for Lionel. Gerard also tries to provide Lionel with the truth about Minna in order to open his eyes and hopefully change his ways. We truly see Gerards concern for Lionel’s well being when he warns him that Matricardi and Rockaforte are “ (…) dangerous men” (235). As he tells Lionel to stay away from them for his own good.

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  30. Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery is different compared to his relationships with other characters. That is due to their mutual connection they share; being alienated from their very own society, circle. Whenever they are together, Lionel finds comfort and feels at ease by her side, as far as sharing an intimacy in her apartment and losing his tics. “I made a whining sound, not a part of any word. Language was destroyed. Bailey, he left town.” (Lethem 222) He is able to do so, because Kimmery treats him differently from other people. She offers her sincerity and kindness to him; telling him that she likes it when he talks. Their relationship is different, because they both acknowledge each other’s alienation and unlike the others who treat Lionel as a freak, Kimmery treats him as a regular human being.

    The conversation that Lionel and Gerard shared reminds me of a dark and rainy day turned into a sunny bright day. That is due to the intense atmosphere they shared in the beginning of their conversation. Lionel definitely thought that Gerard was involved in Minna’s death, but then as the conversation goes on, Lionel realizes Gerard’s change in his replies. From Lionel’s memory, Gerard left off a bad impression. Thus, Lionel can not fully trust Gerard, and questions his motive. “Gerard’s persuasiveness was a variant of the Minna style. […] moving me authentically. Yet his foray against the notion of a sophisticated killer also made me think of […] supervillains.” (Lethem 234) Although Lionel attacked him with questions, Gerard, remained calm. It was as if Gerard felt pity towards Lionel, because he was reminded of his brother.

    Lissom Huang

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  31. We can see a significant change in the interaction between Kimmery and Lionel. Their relationship differes mainly in the way Lionel’s tics are effected. In her presence, his tics lighten and become more surpressed naturally. They also acnowledge that Kimmery has tics as well which allows them to understand eachother on a completely new level. The suppression of tics can be compared to when Lionel speak about his sexual experience and how it dulls his Tourettes. He explains that:
    “I was never less ticcish than this: aroused, pressing towards another’s body, moving out of my own” 220

    The conversation between Lionel and Gerard brought apond a lot of revelation to Lionel’s character. Throughout their interaction, Lionel is pressing Gerard for answeres and is frustrated at the vague calmness of his presence. Lionel could be describes as being intimidated by Gerard, being the brother of Frank and confused by the contradiction of the violent acts he’s been involved in in contrast to his Buddhist faith. Gerard treats Lionel with respect, but it is clear to see that he is dominant in the interaction even though he is the one being interrogated. It’s almost like a child and an athority figure speaking to one another due to the power struggle on Lionel’s part.

    Michelle Jette

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  32. The relationship that Lionel has with Kimmery is new to the readers. In the beginning of the book, we automatically categorized Lionel as a freak. However, the interaction that Lionel and Kimmery have in her appartment is an emotional one. Lionel as developped strong feelings for Kimmery, while we notice that Kimmery begins to be interested in Lionel and all the aspects that make him special. Lionel expresses how he feels around Kimmery: “She and I were drawn to a closer understanding. Perhaps this foyer had only waited for this moment, for me and my story, to become a real space instead of a provisional one. ” (215) This quote showcases how he feels around others but also the contrast when he is with Kimmery.

    The pre-cursor to the encounter between Lionel and Gerard Minna seemed as if it was going to the duel of the century. Lionel broke into the Zendo hoping to confront Gerard with all of his built-up emotions. Lionel believed that he had finally found the way to avenge his mentor’s death. Lionel came on very strong, however, Gerard was very quick to kill the moment by being calm and composed. Lionel described the conversation by saying “The worse I attacked him, the deeper his forgiveness and grace would be. ” (232) As the conversation went on, Gerard was able to focus Lionel’s emotions without Lionel even noticing it, Lionel left with more question than he got answers.

    Melvin Buquerente

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  33. * Was on intensive trip from September 16 to 19*

    Unlike the other characters in the book who often underestimate and overlook Lionel, Kimmery displays genuine interest in him as a person. Each time they meet, Kimmery acknowledges Lionel’s presence, making him feel wanted. Her lack of fear and judgment towards the lonely detective enchant him right away: “The question was delivered evenly, without sarcasm or fear, as though she really wanted an answer”.(214) Compared to all the other characters, Kimmery is portrayed as being sincere, gentle and very naïve which makes Lionel quickly assume the role of her personal protector. Furthermore, the inexplicable tic less force field that Kimmery generates around her reinforce Lionel’s feelings toward her. What evolves between them eventually is a strangely juvenile crush that unlike with Julia is somewhat reciprocated.

    The conversation Lionel and Gerard have is eventful to say the least. At first, when Lionel barges into Gerard’s room, he is convinced of the monk’s involvement in Frank Minna’s death. However, as the back and forth progresses, Gerard seems to have a hypnotizing effect on Lionel, slowly but surely convincing the latter of minimal involvement: “(…) sympathy flowed between us untrammeled by doubt or fear.”(234) Lionel recognizes many of Frank’s characteristics in Gerard Minna and that persuades him even more to trust the monk. By the end of their talk, all the initial hostility is gone replaced by a misty sense of confusion. Though Lionel is still suspicious he listens to Gerard’s warnings and goes to spy on Tony at the L &L.

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  34. Lionel’s relationship with Kimmery is very different than others. When they met the first time, we could already see that Kimmery respeted Lionel. As we know because Lionel Tourette syndrome, people was looking at him as not a ‘ normal’ person but Kimmery does not show that. Then more conversation goes on, more we can see that both are attracted between each others. Lionel feels himself with her ” I wasn’t ticcing much, for a couple of reasons. The first was Kimmery herself..’ (211) The only reason Lionel and Kimmery relationship is different than others, is that she treats him as a human being and Lionel loves that.

    Lionel’s conversation with Gerard was helpfull. Helpfull in the sense that now Lionel has more information of the person who killed Frank. When the conversation started, Lionel suspected Gerard as the killer but Gerard kept his cool and was responding as the person who did not kill Frank. That makes Lionel a bit freak out because he knows what Gerard is capable to do. Lionel’s says ‘ You’re seapking without thinking’ (229) to show how Gerard was calm and makes Lionel freak out. Gerard was treating Lionel as a person that knows absolutely nothing but with respect. He answered him as a person who was completely in the wrong direction to find the murder but after he was helping him by saying some news informations.

    Alex Mukwende

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  35. Reading these pages was much more palpating than the other parts of the book read so far, in my opinion.
    Comparing to other characters from the novel,

    I can describe Kimmery has a much more amenable and accommodating person towards Lionel. The reason behind is because of her loneliness, her disconnection with the world. She makes a step further with relationships. Lionel, as lucky as he could be, has a free pass for much more intimate relations. Kimmery evokes emotions that suppress Lionel’s tics. While he is profiting from that, we should not forget that meeting Kimmery is mostly for his investigation: “She was an incompetent witness, beyond that a distraction. And I was an investigator who supplied plenty of my own distractions, too many.”(p. 218). He is still aware that he has an investigation to do, but he could profit from some good distractions.

    Lionel’s meeting with Gerard was a bit thrilling, afraid that something bad might happen. Luckily everything ended smoothly, with a somewhat disinclined outcome. Lionel, during his way to his rendezvous, was bad-tempered because he wanted answers. Throughout his meeting, he was indifferent but a bit shaky at the same time: “I took a deep breath. Gerard’s serenity called out of me a storm of compensatory voices, a myriad possible shrieks and insults to stanch” (p.229) His tics were much more compulsive than being with Kimmery. Lionel is much calm with a “femme fatale” than being in a fright environment.
    Gerard describes Lionel as being the same person as Minna; cognate (speaking the same language as Minna) odd and ignorant (p.231). But at the same time, he reveals to Lionel that Frank Minna was hiding some sneaky secret, which puts Lionel discontented and in denial: “I wanted to sicken him the way I was sickened.”(p.232).

    Ricardo Thomassini

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    1. Please come and speak to me about this response when you get a chance. It’s a good response, I just have a couple of important comments.

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