Monday, December 22, 2014

De Mohrenschildt

Forgot to post this last month when I reviewed Stephen King’s 11/22/63

One of the better things in the novel is King’s envisioning of George De Mohrenschildt, an acquaintance of Lee Harvey Oswald’s during the summer of 1962.  An informal leader in  the ex-patriot Russian community, with a German accent to boot, with import-export ties in the third world, suspicion has long had it that De Mohrenschildt had CIA ties.  King doesn’t weigh in on this one way or the other, but focuses on the character of the strange, domineering man that most of the conspiracy books only hint at:

What interested me was the way de Mohrenschildt listened.  He did it as the world’s more charming and magnetic people do, always asking the right question at the right time, never fidgeting or taking his eyes from the speaker’s face, making the other guy feel like the most knowledgeable, brilliant, and intellectually savvy person on the planet.  This might have been the first time in his life that Lee had been listened to in such a way.  (page 494).

Or how about this scene, a few pages later:

“Be courageous, Lee!  When they come, stand forward!  Show them this!”  He grasped his shirt and tore it open.  Buttons popped off and clattered to the porch.  The jump-rope girls gasped, too shocked to giggle.  Unlike most American men of that time, de Mohrenschildt wore no undershirt.  His skin was the color of oiled mahogany.  Fatty breasts hung on old muscle.  He pounded his right fist above his left nipple.  “Tell them, ‘Here is my heart, and my heart is pure, and my heart belongs to my cause!’  Tell them ‘Even if Hoover rips my heart out of me, it will still beat, and a thousand other hearts will beat in time!  Then ten thousand!  Then a hundred thousand!  Then a million!” (page 498)

This occurs during a picnic with the wives and kiddies.

Every line of dialogue King put in this guys mouth rang true.  The character – previously a black-and-white photo in a couple of used JFK assassination books – came to life for me.  One of the better parts of the novel.

No comments: