Highlight of the Lonesome Night: October 17th

[For the October 16th highlight, click here.]


October 17th

“Soon it begins,” Snuff narrates at the start of the October 17th chapter. “Today is the day of the New Moon. The power will rise till the night of its fullness, on the thirty-first, the combination which brings us together. And with the rising we begin our work, that which draws us apart. The days ahead will be interesting, as the openers and closers reveal themselves by their actions.” Prior to such escalation of conflict, though, there’s a moment of relative cooperation, as Snuff flashes back to the previous evening’s handiwork. Various players descend upon the local cemetery, to engage in some strategic graverobbing. Specific body parts are the treasures the scavenger hunters seek, and along with the sounds of spades digging all around, trade requests ring out in the darkness. Skulls, fingerbones, left femurs, livers, and kidneys are casually tossed about. The height of the blackly humorous exchange, in my mind, is reached when “a deep masculine voice with a Hungarian accent” (presumably the Count) calls out, “Has anyone the broken vertebrae of a hanged man?” The question (which sounds even funnier when taken out of context) encapsulates the quirkily macabre workings of Zelazny’s narrative.


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