Chapter 12 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 843

A nearby gallery is displaying a collection of Morandi paintings, and Lianne realizes even a simple display of still life paintings has political overtones for her as she recalls her mother and Martin discussing the nature of God and jihad. Nina wanted her Morandi paintings, along with some others, returned to Martin soon after their estrangement. Lianne honored her mother’s wishes and shipped them. It made Lianne sad to think of them being sold in a cell-phone transaction. No one else is at the showing, and she likes the silence. As she views the paintings, Lianne sees a version of the painting that had been in Nina’s apartment. The two dark, tall oblongs and the white bottle. This time when she looks at it closely, she sees something else hidden in it—her mother’s living room and the memories she holds of that place. A man enters and examines her before he examines the paintings; Lianne moves to another area. She is not sure why she is so intent on this work, but she moves beyond the simple pleasure of looking at the art and tries to absorb it. When the man enters this room, Lianne cannot look at the work in the same way, so she leaves. These paintings were all Natura Morta, still life, like Nina’s last days.

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Keith never bets on sports, though he enjoys the atmosphere of the sports betting rooms. He likes the sensory aspects of watching them on a screen, here and then gone, slow motion and regular motion. Keith shows his money to enter a poker game and settles himself at the table. Luck and chance do not concern him because he has memory and judgment. He can decide what is true and what is dissembling, when to strike and when to fade. Terry believes the only logic in the game is the logic of personality, but Keith believes in its structures and principles—then he always has the choice, yes or no. This is the “choice that reminds you who you are.”

At home in bed, Lianne and Keith embrace and say nothing. They spend four days of “indirection” before they talk about anything that matters; this is lost time “designed to go unremembered.” She continues to withdraw; he is, as always, self-sequestered. She is still calm and in control; he is now often literally distanced from her and Justin. While he is home, they take Justin to museums and Keith plays ball with him in the park. Justin throws quick and hard with his father. He is like a pitching machine, throwing hard balls at his father. First Keith is amused, then impressed, and finally puzzled at this heat and intensity from his son. One evening Lianne sees a poker tournament on television. It is unclear where it is or even when it took place, but she finds herself looking for Keith, though he is sitting in the other room paying bills. There is a tension, a tautness to this game, a waiting.

After four days they finally talk about things that matter. Lianne tells him she understands that some people are only half there, half engaged,...

(The entire section contains 843 words.)

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