Falconer is a one-hundred-year-old state prison where Ezekiel Farragut, a professor guilty of fratricide while under the influence of “dangerous drugs,” is being incarcerated for “zip to ten” years. He is addicted to heroin but is currently maintained on methadone.
Ezekiel’s first visitor is his wife, Marcia, but their marriage is very bitter, with Ezekiel mostly acquiescent in the verbal battles. Peter, his son, does not come to see him at any time during the novel. Some of Marcia and Ezekiel’s hostility emerged most notably when he once found her embracing and kissing Sally Midland. As the novel progresses, however, it is clear that Ezekiel’s own homosexuality has been promiscuous and long-standing.
Eben Farragut, Ezekiel’s brother, one is led to suspect, once pushed him out a window, intending to have him fall upon some spear-pointed fence posts, but Ezekiel landed on his knees on the pavement, injuring them so that in prison he claims that an attack by one of the guards has left him crippled. Ezekiel is made into a cruel sideshow by the officers, who want to watch him go through unaided drug withdrawal, and he considers suing for medical mistreatment. The chapter closes with Ezekiel writing letters of complaint to his governor, his bishop, and the “girl he had lived with for two months when Marcia had abdicated and moved to Carmel.”
Pivotal to the plot is Ezekiel’s sexual affair with the highly intelligent Jody, who cleverly decides to forgo his diploma from the Fiduciary University of Banking as it comes into Falconer. When a cardinal comes in a helicopter to award Fiduciary U. diplomas and to offer Holy Communion to a select twenty-five of the prisoners, Jody escapes among the acolytes. Once outside, he is caught by the cardinal in a blatant lie—that he is...
(The entire section is 746 words.)