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Linda Perdido

A Novel

Mac Wellman

Publication Year: 2013

Linda Perdido, the story of the antisocial Linda Perdido told by her well-behaved sister Qua, is a memoir like no other.

Set in a vast and unknown region in the Midwest, Mac Wellman’s Linda Perdido chronicles the lives of two sisters: Linda and Qua Perdido. Linda is bad, acting out every antisocial impulse she has and then some; Qua is good but comes to hate her sister, though she chooses to write a memoir about her, thus Linda Perdido

Their lives are complicated by many figures, among them the Traveler, a lonely man who follows the migration patterns of a strange bird, the Perdido Macaw; the Counter-Terrorist, who gets his facts wrong and cannot decipher the ominous chatter; a FedEx delivery man, Donn Morocco, who loses his mind after his truck is stolen by the rampaging Linda. These and others meet and complicate each other’s lives, often ruinously, culminating at what will become Ground Zero on the day before the attacks.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Quotes, Acknowledgments

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pp. 2-11

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One. A book begins:

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pp. 1-8

Linda Perdido Linda Perdido Linda Perdido. In one eye and out the other. At the WalMart in Troy doing something awful to the lettuce and cabbage. Eyes bright, like something that lives, insane, way up in a high tree. A tall, sky-filling Nutt tree, or a nutty one, not a nut-bearer—pizenous in the opinion of many locals (like Horace Ginkel). ...

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Two.

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pp. 9-14

And it was true. Meantime Linda Perdido Linda Perdido Linda Perdido. Linda Perdido has had a further thought and reversed field yet once more. She rides up and down the narrow road to the north drunkenly crisscrossing the dotted line in a mood of set in mind and maximal deliberation. ...

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Three.

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pp. 15-20

The wisdom of Donn The sagacity of Donn The Thought of Donn. Consider what the Noses had to say to Finella, he says. And: Ping ping pong, and: Ping ping pong; and: Pong pong ping, and Pong pong ping. Ipse dixit. As he plods on, occasionally stumbling on a clod or molehill, unreckoned. ...

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Four.

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pp. 21-24

They are like poor spiders adrift in the howling storm, she thinks. Thinks Linda Perdido, all ablaze like the scratch and fire-burst of a wooden match. Now they see how big I am, and how small they are. Indeed, the creatures of Saint Lydia’s, children and adults both, scurry about in aimless confusion as their tormentor glares down at them from above, ...

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Five.

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pp. 25-30

Once past the marches of Moon Trouble, the couple glides into (and over) what is known as the Hidden Quarter of Set County, holding hands. Their eyes sparkle; they are in love. Behind them the enormous sun is a blazing, burnished medallion of tremulous metallica. ...

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Six.

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pp. 31-38

For a long time I would stand outside, all alone, looking at the moon. I had had a fight with my girlfriend, never mind the reason. And so. And so, one time after a long illness, never mind precisely what kind; and other disasters both personal and private (never mind never mind), ...

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Seven.

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pp. 39-44

The Counter Terrorist (C/T passim) sits in his chair fashioned from an unknown wood, swivels 180 degrees and, as if to listen to the faint echo of a clamor far off, cocks an ear. Clamor or a clangor. The C/T sits. Slight tremor. Last night at where and who and. Slight tremor very slight. Take a wee white pill. ...

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Eight.

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pp. 45-52

Now it comes back to him. Qua. I am a writer… Qua Perdido… Yes, Qua. C/T? Qua. Unusual name yes I am aware of that. I teach Creative Non Fiction at Groaner and Fiction at Doubleton College in Old Macassar and Memoir at Set County State at Osiris, a small, swell town on the heel of the Nambipewkus only a few miles from here ...

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Nine.

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pp. 53-58

Spider Getuli. Nowhere. And it was true. Suddenly Slow Burn Slipp is gone. Spider Getuli stumbles off to a far, far room, around a corner, perhaps to the crawl space behind the stairway to the attic and next to the occluded area (Area B) behind the old bathtub now walled up and over where he may be smoking an illegal cigarette. ...

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Ten.

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pp. 59-66

Set County (in his New Double Something Aspect) speaketh low and in rumbly tones. For the record, no one has ever asked me anything except in a foolish rhetorical flourish; no, in the jest of jist, for such a very long time that my consciousness has been, well, well; face the fact my consciousness has gone, ...

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Eleven.

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pp. 67-72

ONE MISSING, ONE DEAD: That is what the newspapers will say; papers around here are so predictable: The Tribune, The Tattler, The Trapeze; therefore, that is what will be said, or scribbled by that idiot, Anne Doyle, who filched my boyfriend Arthur Rockefeller some years ago. New Samara County Day School over in Domely. ...

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Twelve.

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pp. 73-84

The man in the white, peaked hat does not know, clearly, the technique for keeping a balance. His bicycle is an ancient one, a Yale, with no gears and no mirror, and simple reflector lights. His employer reasons that no one would bother to steal such a jarring, jolting misconstruction with mechanical cycle more like a wobbling cycloid. ...

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Thirteen.

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pp. 85-90

Young persons as familiar and as costly as the high-end items in the museum shop of the Metropolitan Museum: Items like basalt jaguars with dazzling eyes of aquamarine; bear’s ears and tiger’s tails emerging from porcelain rhododendrons transmuting verdure into onyx; remote faces of young Greeks and Romans with hard eyeless expression ...

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Fourteen.

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pp. 91-96

In that book of Qua’s, the book she wrote about her sister Linda, there are some puzzles. Did Linda Perdido really do all those bad things? Sometimes I have my doubts, as I always do when the accused stands there in the full nakedness of total absence under the bright light of an accuser who is fully there, ...

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Fifteen.

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pp. 97-98

…because face it, I am just a totally, like, like ordinary uncatchable, gap-toothed girl, always hitting my head on things and a lot less frail than I look. And were I ever to actually speak to one of you totally clueless totally unattractive blockheads (a thing I would never, ever do) I might say something like. ...

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Sixteen.

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pp. 99-106

Smoke, thinks Spider Getuli, fire. He is more than a little worried about all that smoke over in the rolling hills near, near P— ; too too near to Orbicular Heights where is situated his third and least favored establishment, What What, or Quid Quid as that snide professor calls it name of something like Orestes Bombay, ...

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Seventeen.

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pp. 107-114

And that, muses Spider Getuli, is the bare bones beginning of the whole, damn thing. Hedges, his car says to him, bringing him back to reality and to the monkey puzzle of hedges that surround and enmesh the Mad Dangle Hedge Fund at 23007 North Shenanigan Boulevard in West Water Witch, ...

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Eighteen.

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pp. 115-122

Nutt, thinks Anne Doyle, now in her journalist manifestation. Nut, she corrects herself, for even in her journalist manifestation she is a terrible speller, as a speller of words that is. What occasions this remark is her discovery of, just outside her door, across the hall from the C/T’s door, three identical shiny black briefcases, ...

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Nineteen.

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pp. 123-128

She knows without the awareness of knowing, what she must do, undoes her barbet, loosens her hair and approaches; now she sees a door being opened; she moves the door a little and hears heavy iron hinges squeal; a small sign reads: Trans Gondwana Underground Isthmus, which suggests nothing to her, ...

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Twenty.

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pp. 129-132

By this time (or is it by that time or is it by any time, but wild time? Time qua time?) Khalid has also made some progress, as he unknowingly follows, like David Layman, a Great Circle Route all the way around the world; although he, unlike David has had some remarkable assistance thanks to Slow Burn Slipp, ...

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Twenty-One.

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pp. 133-138

And this is how Khalid happens to make his way halfway round the world to Set County. Meanwhile, and in only a few minutes or hours or days or weeks or years, Annabella D’Amico has appeared on the streets of Soho, not a little perplexed. ...

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Twenty-Two.

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pp. 139-148

Back in Set County the unaccountable bad weather continues. Bitter cold, driving snow and hail. Hausser’s II S.S. Panzerkorps is making progress towards Prochorovka, but only slowly. Russian resistance, particularly on the eastern flank of the German drive is ferocious. ...

Twenty-Three.

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pp. 149-150

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Twenty-Four.

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pp. 151-158

Yes, almost a suspicion; and as suspicion is the special forte of the C/T he does not refrain considering the whys and wherefores of this suspicion, like the expert oenologist, slowly rolling about the old Tokay in the goblet so as to better examine the nose and legs and body and other less but distinctive qualities. ...

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Twenty-Five.

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pp. 159-162

What I could really use, says Gary, is someone in Home and Security as I have this hunch that what we are dealing with is an instance of terror. Annabella, you see, was known to have visited the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt, and she was known likewise to have frequented certain establishments in Arab town over in, over in New Baghdad, ...

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Twenty-Six.

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pp. 163-170

He will sleep for a long time indeed, I think, and may the seven silent valises of his simplemindedness silently arrange themselves around his semi-consciousness as well. He is not worth writing an untrue book about (horrid fiction!), much less a true one. ...

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Twenty-Seven.

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pp. 171-176

Linda Perdido Linda Perdido Linda Perdido I know it is a ridiculous name and even more ridiculous because her name in triplex iteration is, I swear, identical to my own tritone call (at least in the micawberish gibberish of Macaws) as I soar far, far above you all on my great circle journey, crossing latitude after latitude, ...

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Twenty-Eight.

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pp. 177-182

At the hedge fund they are not talking about subprime and futures, they are talking about the storm, the storm of the century. At the Monkey Bar they are not talking about monkeys, but about the storm, the storm of the century. All over Set County they are talking about the fires at Saint Lydia’s ...

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Twenty-Nine.

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pp. 183-186

As the cloud disappears near Prochorovka, and with it, the Battle of Kursk and all the madness and clangor of those awful days, the C/T wakens, refreshed and reinvigorated. An old piece of classical music is playing on the radio, WSET, the station of Dromedary University over in Pandemonium Heights. ...

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Thirty.

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pp. 187-194

As far as Spider’s testimony before the Lord High Mixologist of Set County, the truth is that what he told was peripheral to the truth, more or less parallel to the truth, but not in all respects true. True enough, the Bar of Many Names (which is what the place should have been named if the place had been lifted out of time ...

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Thirty-One.

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pp. 195-202

But Pomfret Cornelius is now explaining in a very animated fashion the project of which he is the chief architect (literally Chief Architect!): Namely the construction of a set of seventeen, splendid towers of glass and crystal. Towers of the sort they have in the Grande Marchè, all this a gift of the people of the Grande Marchè to the people of Set County, ...

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Thirty-One (& a Half).

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pp. 203-205

The County Official leans back in his chair, like they do in Escondido. He does not really buy any of this, but since he cannot prove the suspected fratricide—beyond a shadow of doubt— there is not much he can do. ...

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Thirty-Two.

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pp. 205-214

As this is happening, there is a silencing of omens of sorts and for some reason something like a harrowing of hell, and far, far away things are clicking along as the worm wheel is turned by the meshed teeth of a threaded cylinder of the threaded shaft of a worm gear. Wonders abound, many of them all at once, and hence outside of time. ...

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Thirty-Three.

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pp. 215-218

Donn Morocco rises and begins to speak quietly and with great force: Ping pong pong…and Ping pong pong, he says and moves his arms; in one hand he carries a crozier of some kind, a staff with a crook or a cross at one end. Khalid thinks the crozier resembles the cobra he once saw in the Singapore Zoo. ...

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Thirty-Four.

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pp. 219-224

Ouch, I have a terrible headache because of that blockhead, Horace Ginkel. Ouch, I had nothing whatsoever to do with all that smoke and flame and general pandemonium. Ouch, I just lie on my back, looking at the sky and thinking about things: How silly birds are, for instance, always darting about this way and that, or diving to pluck a plump rabbit or quail; ...

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Epilogue: Another book ends and something Lovely is Lost.

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pp. 225-227

All in all it has been a blast. Spike and I never had it so good. To fly, coasting along without a sound, over the dreaming face of North America—Set County’s in North America, isn’t he? Seeing places like, er, Bethlehem then Beelzebub; Dubuque then Drumbeat Nest; Los Alamos then Gopher Latch Key; Edina then Mad Echo Park; Minerva then Mink Muscle Creek. ...


E-ISBN-13: 9781573668415
E-ISBN-10: 1573668419
Print-ISBN-13: 9781573661737
Print-ISBN-10: 1573661732

Page Count: 237
Illustrations: 0 illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

Series Editor Byline: John Smith, Will Wordsworth

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Subject Headings

  • Sisters -- Fiction.
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