08 June 2007

A current of pleasure he'd never thought of looking for

john casey frames his
1989 national book award winner
'spartina' as the struggle of a
poor unhappy but ethical rhode island local
(dick pierce)
to purloin the secret of happiness from
the happy but unethical wealthy tourists
disgnated early in the book
as the 'players' (unethical)
vs the non-players

his mata-hari accomplice
is a welthy tomboy
who's attempting to jump ships
from tourist to local
(inspired partly by her admiration for pierce)
by playfully taking the job of game warden

early in their affair casey writes
"He watched her laugh get the better of her,
and he felt a current of pleasure
he'd never thought of looking for."

on one level this metaphor
echoes pierce's expertise in finding fish
by understanding sea currents

but at a higher level it echoes
the highest task of the novelist:
to reveal unexpected currents of human motivation

in the synchronising-spreadsheets metaphor
this is the highest level

pierce is trying to reverse-engineer
the hidden formula
that makes players happy

while casey offers all readers
a chance to synchronise
to that same formula
via pierce's process of search