- Sep 23, 2020
- Reaction score
- Eastern Washington
Swan Song is a book written by Robert McCammon. Here is the el-ite-pedia link but it has major spoilers. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I always catch something new at every reread. In the book, the world is mostly destroyed during nuclear war between the US and the USSR. There are several points of views as McCammon switches from different survivors. Swan is a little girl with a special gift. She travels with Josh after her mother dies. He was called the Black Frankenstein in his wrestling career before the bombs dropped. There is also Sister Creep, a homeless woman who survives the blasts that hit New York. Then there is Roland. He is also a child and also, like Swan, finds a protector, Colonel Macklin. The last character is called Friend or the Man with the Scarlet Eye or the Man of Many Faces.
"A swan song is a reference to an ancient, controversial belief that swans sing just before they die, and also an idiom for a final performance or accomplishment." So whose swan song is it? Swan herself or the human race?
One of the major themes of the book is about masks. Not ones that you put on but the one that masks the true nature of ones soul.
Once I realized that, I caught all sorts of clues about this in different parts of the book before the actual unmasking. From the first chapter, the President is trying to decide whether to make the first strike: "I don’t want it! he almost shouted. He needed time, needed to go to Camp David or off on one of those long fishing trips he had enjoyed as a senator. But now there was no more time. His hands were gripped before him. His face felt so tight he feared it would crack and fall to pieces like a mask, and he wouldn’t want to see what lay underneath." (Kindle Locations 259-261)
And in Sister Creep's first chapter : "Sin was everywhere! she thought. In the ground, in the air, in the water-nothing but rank, black and evil sin! And it was in people’s faces, too, oh, yes! You could see the sin creeping over people’s faces, hooding their eyes and making their mouths go crooked." If you have already read this book before, you probably know exactly what that means. (Kindle Locations 390-391).
Josh wears a mask to wrestle that has scars and fake Frankenstein bolts but underneath isn't much better. His first chapter includes this line about the rumors of war:
"Josh was beginning to believe the whole thing was like professional wrestling: the superpowers put on their masks and stomped around, roaring threats and swinging wildly at each other, but it was a game of macho, strutting bluff." (Kindle Locations 573-575).
And from Roland's first chapter:
He glanced at the rearview mirror and caught his son’s green-daubed face floating like a Halloween mask over his shoulder. Father and son closely resembled each other; they both wore thick-lensed eyeglasses, had thin, lank hair and were slight and bony. Phil’s hair was threaded with gray and was receding rapidly, and the thirteen-year-old boy’s was dark brown, cut in straight bangs to hide the height of his forehead. The boy’s face was a study in sharp angles, like his mother’s; his nose, chin and cheekbones all seemed to be about to slice through his pallid skin, as if a second face were underneath the first and on the edge of being revealed. His eyes, magnified slightly by the lenses, were the color of ashes. (Kindle Locations 763-768).
Those are just a couple of the first mentions of masks. Eyes are also mentioned frequently as they are considered by many to be windows of the soul.
If you noticed, I didn't really talk about the actual plot but the wiki covers that in detail. This is one book that has to be experienced. Robert McCammon's way with a phrase has made me a fan for many years and many books.
Note: This OP was recovered from BING cache.