YFTS: Turning Points

The first thing I’d like to remark about on our current section of Your Face Tomorrow (we’re in Week 13) is this was the first moment in the book where I distinctly felt that Deza’s “fever” had ended. In fact, I can pinpoint the exact line where this happened.

Deza’s fever, as he refers to it again and again (and again), of course begins with his whole entry into Tupra’s team of interpreters; in fact, maybe the first onset of the fever is at Wheeler’s party, where he comes across two of the odd characters that we will see so much more of in this book: Tupra and Rafita. This initiates the whole series of activities and relationships Deza enters into, which, in my reading, culminates with the savage beating of Rafita and then is chewed over a bit during Deza’s strange encounter with Tupra at his house that same night, where they watch the poisonous videos, and finally dissipates away as the two travel for business.

Which then brings us to this line, found on page 210: “I also postponed my departure for a little longer on our return from Berlin, in order to find out first what had happened to De la Garza.” To me these are the words of a man who sees the foregoing events as ended; that is, neatly sectioned off into his past and no longer a creative, living part of his ongoing life and identity (his “face” as it were).

The book now, I believe (although I don’t really know since there’s a good 250 more pages of it to go), seems to be entering into the phase where we try to make sense of what happened in the initial 800 or so pages. I don’t feel a whole lot of closure surrounding everything from the party to the disco, and I doubt that Deza does either, and I would think that these concluding pages will offer some sort of incident or encounter that juxtaposes meaningfully with the whole fever and spear and dance and dream and poison. (And speaking of poison, I found it interesting that Deza likens the videos to poisons being injected into his body, given his rather animated discussions of the various uses of botulism toxin.)

One final tidbit for now: given how almost every name we encounter in this book gets remarked on in one way or another, it seemed worth noting that I don’t recall Marias making any comments about Rafita de la Garza’s name. This seems a serious omission, given that all other characters who have appeared as much as Rafita have gotten the treatment. So this is what I found, for what it’s worth: “Garza,” or “de la Garza” is a very common Spanish surname, and Garza commonly translates as “dweller at the sign of the heron or dove.” In Mediterranean Italian it has the more promising translation of “a gauze bandage,” which would have clear resonances for YFT. (And, perhaps, given Marias’ inclusion of a southerner so prominently in Rafita’s part of this book, perhaps this is the translation we should give precedence to.)

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Just wanted to pass on a small comment on why Deza is right to question the latter half of the name Kennedy-Mansfield Syndrome:

On Friday’s Jeopardy, none of the three contestants were able to identify a photo of Jane Mansfield, and I’m not sure I would have either had I not been reading YFT. Seems her shot at immortality failed, like Dearlove’s likely will.

True, I didn’t have a strong cultural memory of her either (despite watching a ton of movies from her period). For some reason she hasn’t lived in the pop cultural memory like some other notable flame-outs . . . perhaps implying that what you do with your life has at least as much importance as how you end it.

I suppose it’s the sort of thing one ought to have seen coming, but has anyone besides me found themselves less and less able to identify with Deza, or to excuse his decisions, over the course of the the “Poison” and “Shadow” sections? Tupra I can grudgingly respect; he seems acting on an ideal. Deza seems oddly & increasingly incapable of caring about much besides his own personal spheres, the things that are important to him. As far as we know, that wasn’t & isn’t the case for Tupra or Wheeler.

[…] Sumner: I suppose it's the sort of thing one ought to have seen coming, but has anyone besides me found them… […]

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