The narrative pace here is fairly boppin’ along, despite my own limited attention given the book. There is, however, very little happening. What we’ve been served is the narrator’s perceptions of his surroundings and his friends and lovers. All of which, by the way, he seems to have a low opinion.
It’s imagery then that is moving the story along. Miller does give some intense description as I’ve noted in a prior post. Here’s a more pleasant side of Paris:
Easter came in like a frozen hare–but it was fairly warm in bed. Today it is lovely again and along the Champs-Elysees at twilight it is like an outdoor seraglio choked with dark-eyed houris.
There is that poor little rich kid attitude in this novel, as there were many of this era. Either as students at university or young adults roaming the underbelly of Europe, these characters are aching for something, yet by seeing all they do in the rough streets of the outer city, they easily are bored. The fire that burns for knowledge, for writing, becomes sharpened and honed yet rounded by use eventually.
There is a conflict here of seeking, of struggle, and yet it is a vulgarity of choice. The narrator himself recognizes this.
As for Carl, he’s not himself these days. He’s upset, his nerves are jangled. He says he’s ill, and I believe him, but I don’t feel badly about it. I can’t. In fact, it makes me laugh.