In this short story called “Save as Many as You Ruin” by Van Booy we are introduced to Gerard, who works in an office. He appears to the reader as likeable man and the story begins one day as he gets off work. He walks down the street thinking about what the area was like before the big city of Manhattan was constructed. The footprints in the snow remind him of how everything will disappear. He breathes out just to see his breath disappear, and thinks of a Rainer M. Rilke quote: “What is ours floats into the air like steam from a dish of hot food.” In this connection it could be noted that this seems to be what he really believes, hence the cynical way he comments on everything. The overall mood in this short story could probably be described as indifference and Gerard, the main character, seems to have some serious existential problems. “He wonders if his life is an extraordinary one”. In this simple statement lies a worrying doubt which indicates that he does not think much of himself, if even anything and he has a hard time finding out what his purpose in life might be. He is described as a handsome man. Furthermore he seems smart and well educated as he quotes poets and makes comparisons to specific painting techniques: “Her face is still sharp and angular like a Cubist painting”.
He has slept with many women but he has only ever loved one and the only one he now seems to have any sort of affection for is his daughter Lucy. As he walks home he suddenly stumbles upon his old love standing inside a store. On impulse he walks into the store and up to her, forgetting about the rest of the world. He bumps into people but does not seem to even notice it, and it is first afterwards he considers if it was a smart thing to do. It is also of the greatest significance to be aware of the fact, that the feelings he once had towards her never actually left him. This will be an important clue when trying to explain the title of the short story.... [continues]
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