A minor at 17, David isn't put to jail but in a mental institution. He doesn't say something is wrong with his head, after all he's the one telling the story, he just says his parents found it better to put him there than in prison. He stays there for several years pining for Jade everyday. He who could have sex 5 times straight in a single night with Jade only, of course wouldn't even masturbate.
He is a faithful lover, the ideal for women, especially that he is a veritable sex machine. Eventually he gets out of the mental institution and is placed on parole. By this time, Mr. Butterfield have separated, the latter having found a younger Mrs. Their children have left already, including Jade, and are living their own lives elsewhere. Looking for Jade, David goes to Ann who promptly tries to seduce him.
She fails. David loves Jade only. On a street, Jade's father spots David walking. He leaves his current flame and runs after the latter. David tries to escape. His pursuer becomes reckless and is ran over by a speeding taxicab. Dies instantly. David keeps this a secret. He attends the wake, sees Jade. On or about this time, he learns that even as he had been practicing celibacy like a Taoist monk for years after the fire, Jade had been promiscuous, sleeping with her professor, a fellow boarder, a lesbo, and others. Yet it all doesn't matter to this endless loverboy. David loves her still, and only her.
They hook up again. On their first night after the long separation Jade is having her period. She bleeds mightily whenever she's menstruating. But small things like this do not matter to the endless lover. David licks her with gusto, like it's strawberry syrup running between her legs, takes her every which way with his pecker that goes harder after each ejaculation. He bursts into tears while making love, the salty droplets of his tears mixing with the blood smeared on his face.
Oh what a fella! Handsome, young, doesn't get soft where it counts, gets harder where other men would fall asleep, loves only one, faithful even in his thoughts, faithful even if his lover plays around, sensitive cries while having sex marathons; cries while looking at his lover's pictures , will burn houses, violate parole regulations, do crime just to be with his love. View all 9 comments. If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared - the dream of never dying or of travelling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner, more unhappy illusion we call normal life.
David Axelrod's account of his passion for Jad If endless love was a dream, then it was a dream we all shared - the dream of never dying or of travelling through time, and if anything set me apart it was not my impulses but my stubbornness, my willingness to take the dream past what had been agreed upon as the reasonable limits, to declare that this dream was not a feverish trick of the mind but was an actuality at least as real as that other, thinner, more unhappy illusion we call normal life.
David Axelrod's account of his passion for Jade Butterfield takes the form of a criminal confession, with the accused pleading his case before the jury formed by the reader. The analogy is reinforced by the opening scene of the novel, in which David describes how he set fire to the Butterfield mansion, in anger over being temporarily cast out from what he considered his Garden of Eden. The place is Chicago and the year The attenuating circumstances, in the accused opinion, are the refusal of the adults to accept the reality and the depth of his feelings, his upbringing in a Communist family and the lure of the liberal and anarchic Butterfields.
I would add 'temporary insanity' to the plea, only the rest of the novel made me realize that David's condition is neither temporary, nor out of his control. His actions are deliberate, calculated to prove the whole world wrong in regards to his love. A reader more familiar with pathological conditions of the mind, might describe David as a psychopat or a schizophrenic, a case of multiple personality disorder. He refuses to accept reality and keeps tilting at windmills in order to change the facts to conform to his views.
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If people are hurt as a result of his actions, he considers it an accident or a conspiracy of Fate to keep him away from Jade. But sometimes you get a little slow making the transition, you drag out the private part of your life and people know you're doing it. They almost always catch on, knowing that someone is standing before them thinking about things that can't be shared, like the one monkey that knows where a freshwater pond is. And sometimes the public mind is such a total bummer and the private self is alive with beauty and danger and secrets and things that don't make any sense but that repeat and repeat and demand to be listened to, and you find it harder and harder to come forward.
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So, why should the reader feel sympathy for David Axelrod? Why is this story one of the best descriptions of love instead of a crime thriller?
I think it boils down to either personal experience of personal yearning for a feeling as strong and true, as deep as David's love for Jade. We are either nostalgic for our first time experiencing the feeling of caring more about our partner than about ourselves, or are envious that it never got that strong in our lives. David's father confesses to this emotion in a dialogue with his son: And you reminded me that I once had it and that I never felt so large and important as I did when being in love was everything. I saw you walking a foot above the earth and I remembered that was where I used to walk, for a few months.
I didn't burn any house down, but yeah, I was acting impulsively and irrationally, and all I have left is the memory of flight, and a stack of letters: Those letters were all that I had that wasn't invisible. They were the only tangible proof that once my heart had wings. My mentioning of the movie titles is not accidental. I believe Scott Spencer has written as powerful an account of the power of love and of its destructive potential as Elia Kazan or Tennessee Williams. I still remember Chance Wayne and Heavenly up in the lighthouse room, discussing how there are only two types of people in the world: those who have fallen in love and those who nver experienced the feeling.
Same with David and Jade, it is easy to judge him as a stalker and an egotist and her as weak and impressionable, but does that really make their passion untrue? It's a once in a lifetime thing. I hate to think it but I bet it's true. It's too bad for us that our once in a lifetime happened when we were too young to handle it.
Speaking of passion, the novel steers closer to the pornographic than to the erotic in the detailed descriptions of the bedroom activities of the two lovers, so it might be a turn-off for some readers. It's again a matter of taste and personal experience and should not be a criteria of dismissing the story because some parts of it are too explicit. Beside the romance between David and Jade, the novel does a decent job at analyzing love at a more mature age, both in the Axelrod and Butterfield families. Long repressed feelings and failures in communication lead to divorces.
Neither the leftist insistence on traditional values, nor the permissive atitude and the drug experiments of the 'modern' family are sure recipes for success. Both sets of parents and siblings have to re-evaluate their relationship in the light of David's persistence.
The Remains of the Day - Wikipedia
The final rating is irrelevant for me - the point of the story being neither escapism nor tittilation of the senses, but a provocation to consider how far you are ready to go for an intangible concept that may be only in your imagination. It asks us to choose between a cynical or delusional vision of love. I didn't 'like' David or many of his choices, I thought he was too selfish and interested in self-gratification and too little concerned about other people's opinion or feelings.
I didn't get the impression that David cared to listen much to Jade or cared about her misgivings.
What I did like is how the author has chosen to end the novel. The world will open your eyes to the transient nature of happiness and make liars of the poets. Jade marries somebody else, and David accepts that there are other women beside Jade.
The only form of permanence, of fidelity, is to the memories of those times when you had wings: I am standing on a long black stage, with a circle of light on me, which is my love for you, enduring. View all 11 comments. Shelves: fiction , traditionally-published , he-says.enter site
The Remains of Love: A Novel
Deeply, deeply in love with Jade, a girl who lives in his neighborhood. He is 17 and she is And her parents are hippies, so free and open that they welcome David into their home and into their hearts. He spends hours and hours there. Then he starts sleeping there.
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Then they buy him a double bed that he and Jade share. Isolated in this family environment and in their love for each other, Jade and David spend endless hours talking, making love, and staring at each other. Until one day, Jade's father makes a decision to be a little more father-like and throw David out of the house. It's not healthy for him and Jade to be spending so much time together.