Concerned as it is with the eternal repetition and transformation of mythical archetypes through the telling of tales, Holy Place offers a little in the way of traditional, mimetic characterization. As Guillermo narrates, his narcissistic and Oedipal complexes are so much in the foreground that one can grant little credence to his portrayal of others. Both secondary characters, Bela and Giancarlo, are patent reductions, she the stereotype of the opportunistic temptress and he of the dark Latin lover. Whether Guillermo sees them as such or wants his reader or listener to think so is never clarified. Although treated at much greater length, moreover, Claudia, too, is nothing more than a glossy veneer. Guillermo tries to read depth and substance into her masks, but to judge by her reported words and actions, she has only the depth of a celluloid image. The aging but still attractive star is more interested in advancing her career and tasting the spoils of her success than in understanding her obviously disturbed son. She is a myth in the sense of commercial media hype. Perhaps her perceived hollowness resides in the fact that, despite her fame as an actress (and despite her incessant role-playing), she is never shown acting professionally. Furthermore, even though Guillermo’s demands are unreasonable and even impossible to meet, she proves to be no more adept as a mother than as an actress.
Only Guillermo’s desultory and sporadic monologue...
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