By Percival Everett (1999)

I am reading another book by Percival Everett again. The previous book “Amercian Desert” by the same author was pretty interesting. His books seem to have a unique or rare storyline and it is usually fast paced, making the reader absorbed into the plot.

Glyph (pronounced as “Glif”) is an element of writing. It is an individual mark on a written medium that contributes to the meaning of what is written. When I first started to read this book, I really have no idea what does Glyph means. In this book, I guess it refers to genius baby Ralph’s writings and his ideas.

 Ralph is a baby who is able to understand words, conversations and is able to write notes. He has a very good memory too, and he loves to read. He is very intelligent compared to other babies who had not yet acquired any intellectual expertise, however he does not cry or make a sound like other babies. When his parents realised his super intelligence through his writing of notes, they bring him to see the doctors and specialists.  When other people realised about his intelligence, he is being kidnapped for experiments and even to be a secret agent to memorize things and events. Luckily, Ralph baby got a loving mother who loves him a lot and finally found him. At the ending, they decided to move away and live secretly together under a new name,keeping Ralph’s talent in secret.

There are some parts of the story which I find it quite funny. See below.

“Mo” in this case refers to Ralph’s mother,Eve.  “Inflato” refers to Ralph’s father, Douglas.

Mo put a pad and a pen in front of me. (me is Ralph)
I wrote : I don’t want to go back to the hospital.

“Maybe not there,” Inflato said. “Eve, we hae to get some answers, learn what we need to do to deal with him.”
“Him is sitting right her. It’s not like he’s got a contagious disease, Douglas.”
How do we know?”
I felt my little body convulsing with laughter. I wrote :
Father wishes I were contagious.

Mo read it and laughed. Inflato grabbed the pad and read it. “Very funny. SO you’re smart, you little nipple-hound.” I wrote quickly : So that’s it, you’re jealous of the attention your wife pays me.

Actually a big part of the story is being made up with satires involving figures from literary criticism. Frankly speaking, I don’t really understand or know how to  appreciate the humour of these sections. Usually for those chunks of literary criticism, I will just skip it and try to read the plot of the story.


There is one part of the story that I got afraid for the baby. When he was kidnapped, there was one priest who has a tendency for sexual assault for small boys. He was thinking of sleeping and taking advantage of Baby Ralph. This part of the story really reminds me of the numerous scandals and stories of catholic priests performing sexual assault to small boys. Most people were not have believed that a priest will do such thing in the past, but I am glad that it is made known nowadays. Otherwise there will be more victims.

Father Chacon’s virtues have been excommunicated by the outside world; the most vital drives obscured by his depressive emotions, suspicion, fright, shame. The equation of moral decay. The equation for psyhological devolution. Father Chacon does furtively what he does best, loves and needs to do with sustained anxiety that makes his heart weaken; and because of the danger, the threat of discovery and persecution, Father Chacon harvests a crop of animal instincts that cannot be tamed by the society that does not understand him.

Luckily for Baby Ralph, he managed to produce a note which frighten away Father Chacon.

As the good father approached, I found it in myself to grab paper and pencil from the nightstand beside me and scribble.

I do not understand the nature of your approach. I am young and naive, but be warned that I am capable of accurate and detailed representation of any turn of events.


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One response »

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