The Counterlife - Part 4 Gloustershire, pages 205-220 Summary & Analysis

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Part 4 Gloustershire, pages 205-220 Summary

Henry has always felt unable to write while having a professional writer for a brother. Henry attends Nathan's funeral in New York. Henry wants to forgive his dead brother for the trouble that erupted after the publication of one of Nathan's books, but the eulogist's constant references to the book remind Henry of things he would rather forget. The eulogist is Nathan's editor. The more the editor praises Nathan's book the more Henry angrily remembers what caused the rift between the two.

Henry had been asked to write the eulogy, but he could not. He begins to remember how the novel cast Henry in the role of defender of his father and Nathan in the role of assassin of the same man.

In the part of the eulogy that upsets Henry the most, Nathan's editor speaks of how so many readers of Nathan's book wanted to know if it is fiction or a true story of Nathan's own family. The editor admits that even he suspects that it is heavily based on truth. This of course upsets Henry, who sees the book as a betrayal full of enough truth to harm the family and enough distortions of truth to make them look utterly ridiculous.

After the funeral service, Henry thinks about how easy it would have been not to attend. Henry encounters Nathan's third wife, and the two discuss Nathan. Nathan's ex wife is now remarried and happy with children. She is surprised to discover that Henry knew nothing of Nathan's illness or surgery until after Nathan's death. The two wonder if Nathan was alone when he died, but they remember that he always had women in his life. She asks if the reason for Henry and Nathan's estrangement was because of Nathan's book, and Henry says that it was. Henry asks if Nathan ever wrote about her, and she says that Nathan must not have found her a worthy subject.

Before leaving the funeral, Henry encounters a bearded man who recognizes him as Nathan's brother. Henry vehemently denies it, and even curses at the man before leaving.

Part 4 Gloustershire, pages 205-220 Analysis

The point of view abruptly switches to a third person narrator focused on Henry's perspective. It would seem to be that this is a continuation in the latest alternate story, but past alterations have shown that it is likely not safe to make such an assumption. It could simply be presenting the aftermath of the opening of Part 4 or it could be another alternate altogether.

Henry begins by wishing he cared more for his dead brother. He goes to the funeral hoping he can put some past grievances to rest, but the eulogy and all the references to the book that caused the rift between the two brothers makes Henry remember the offenses and insults as if they have happened all over again. By the end of the funeral he does not want anyone to know he is even related to Nathan.

This section contains 506 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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