Summary: Chapter 56

In the present, Elaine walks down Queen Street The zoology building has long since been torn down. Mr. Hrbik’s neighborhood has gentrified. Even the flag is different now. 

Now that she’s older, Elaine understands Mr. Hrbik’s loneliness but wonders why he pursued younger women.  She would attack any man his age that went after her daughters. 

When she enters a store to buy gifts, a Middle Eastern woman approaches her. The woman begs Elaine for help, crying that people in her country are dying. Elaine knows the woman is talking about the war that killed Stephen. She gives the woman money but thinks that the woman probably hates her. 

Summary: Chapter 57

September comes, and Elaine returns both to university and living in her parents’ house. Her summer lethargy fades. She enjoys having two men and not having to choose.

Mr. Hrbik becomes controlling and threatening, even mentioning a time he killed a man. Jon, on the other hand, offers escape from the adults around her. 

Jon paints abstract paintings, which he considers pure art because they’re about the process of painting. Elaine thinks they look like roadkill. He refuses to clean his house to the point of filth and accuses anyone who cleans it of trying to mother him. He catagorizes women as either smart or stupid and tells Elaine she’s smarter than most.