Silenced: Chapter 22, Part 1: Calandre Caresse

Time for Jae to be a total jerk again!

I feel for her, I really do, puppet as she is to Jenkins’ notion of what constitutes an amoral atheist slowly navigating her own way towards good little RTC wifedom.


…[Jae] found her mother more maddening than ever—her docile take-life-as-it-comes attitude, letting Ranold get away with whatever craziness he dreamed up.

Huh.  A docile wife letting a husband do whatever he likes, no matter how many people he hurts?  Hit a bit too close to home, Jae?

I wish I could believe that’s what Jenkins is doing here.

Anyway, Jae’s all-over-the-place emotions are just a lead-up to Ranold telling her all about the woman who will be luring Paul to his doom sex.

And with all this hanging over her head, Jae feels the need to play Jenkinsian word games with Ranold:

“Name’s Calandre Caresse, and we’ve used her before.  Shes–”

“Come on, Dad.  That’s not her real name.  That’s a stripper’s name.”

Oh, like you’re a one to talk about weird names, Jae Decenti Stepola/Apostle.

He cocked his head.  “Far as I know, that’s her name.  She’s classy, discreet, and can be trusted.”

“Listen to yourself!” Jae said.

Ranold looked genuinely puzzled.

“All right,” she said.  “let me ask you something.  How would you describe me?”

“Smart, pretty, loyal.”

“You’ve said that before.  Be more creative.  Am I classy?”

“I’ve always thought so.”




“You bet.”

Heh, don’t bet the farm there, Ranold.

“Dad, you just described a woman who lures men to her bed for a living the same way you would describe me.”

Um, not really, Jae.  Because despite your instruction that Ranold be “creative,” you fed him all the words.  Face it, Jae, you’re just looking for ways to trap your dad.  Now, if you’re upset about this whole scheme, that’s fine, but don’t make the problem into that of Ranold thinking of a Fembot the same way he thinks of you.  Because he quite clearly doesn’t.

Also, why is this scheme even taking place?  Again and again, we see that for all it’s “sinful” acceptance of such things as homosexuality, prostitution, and pornography, Atheistopia is oddly marriage-oriented for such a supposedly amoral society.  So many questions remain: why, in this world, did Jae and Paul both stay in a loveless marriage for so long?  Why are the NPO agents just as offended by Paul’s marital infidelity as by his betrayal of the organization and the “world system” itself?

Actually, Ranold clarifies why they’re doing this:

“You deserve to know what he really is, Jae!  All this phony Paul’s-a-new-man malarkey…if we do decide to send you over there, I want you clear that Paul is the target, the enemy.”

Poor Ranold.  For ten years, he has watched the marriage of his little girl die death by a thousand cuts (of Paul’s asshattishness), and he is now making one last effort to make Jae see the truth.

Of course, Jae then determines that she needs to get to Europe to SAVE PAUL, even if she has to lie to Ranold to do so.  Which doesn’t seem very RTC of her.


Paul and ChappellShow have some Man Time alone together.  Naturally, ChappellShow thanks Paul for humiliating and berating him in front of the people he’s supposed to lead.

And they talk about entrapping Styr Magnor.  BORING.


Back to Ranold’s wondrous scheme: as Paul is returning to his hotel (WHY HASN’T PAUL BEEN TAILED GORRAMITALL???), he sees “a dark, attractive young woman heading for the door of Le Hotel Boutique across the street.”

No doubt next door to Le Bakery Baguette on one side and Le Gallery Monet on the other.

Anyway, Calandre pulls the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS ploy of tripping over her own feet, which of course prompts Paul to play white knight and rush over to help her up.  And she clings to him and mews and touches him.

Paul did not reciprocate but couldn’t say he found her touch unpleasant.  He had been away from home too long.

I…really don’t think it’s been that long, Paul.

Hilariously (well, not really), Paul introduces himself as “Ray Decenti.”  The two go to the bar in the hotel (no doubt called Le Lounge Champagne), and Calandre gets wine and Paul gets coffee, because good little RTC boys don’t drink.

Then she invites him up to her room.

And he goes.


Is Jenkins making the point that Paul can expose himself to so much temptation and still remain “faithful” to Jae?  Because honestly, this all just makes Paul look either dumb, or like a big tease.

In the “palatial” hotel room (which no doubt has Le Bed Immense)…

He moved away.  “You don’t fancy me?”

“Actually, very much.  You’re really a beautiful girl.”

“I am more than a girl, Ray.”

“You know what?” he said.  “I’m not going to do this.  Don’t make me insult you or appear ungrateful for the offer, but I’m leaving.  Thank again [for the coffee] and good night.”

Fun fact: you know what words Paul didn’t say during this entire episode?  “I’m married” or “I’m in love with my wife.”

I mean, why would he feel the need to insult Calandre?  Just tell her the truth.  Isn’t that the Christian thing to do, after all?  And if you were so annoyed that she wanted to sleep with you, (again) why go to her room at all?

I don’t get it.

In any event, Ranold’s plan failed because he didn’t know his target well enough.  As we discovered in Soon, Paul doesn’t like take-charge women with attitude like Bia Balaam and Calandre Caresse.  He prefers them half-drunk.

Next time, we’ll see why Chapter 22 requires two parts, and see Jae’s reaction to all this.


Posted on March 1, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Amazing. As Jae is transformed from atheist to proto-believer (for no adequately explained reason, mind you), her bigottery towards her unsaved loved ones rises sharply. So much for love your neighbour.

    Leave it to Jenkins to ignore perfectly good arguments their male characters could say to dissuade romantically interested women, prefering to tell them how much their open availability disgusts them. We saw it with Buck telling Hattie that he doesn’t think “she’s that kind of girl”, instead of “your crush is neck-deep in murders and corruption, and possibly the Antichrist”. And here Paul follows a woman up to her room, and then gives her no good reason for turning her down. Instead, he makes it clear he wants to say something that would be insulting to her, by saying he won’t.

  2. “Oh, when you invited me up to your room I didn’t think you were offering sex, I thought it was because…” is a sentence that really doesn’t have a sensible ending.

    Clearly someone read about badger games and honeytraps and thought they were the sort of thing that ought to happen in this book.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      But done in a way without any sex-cooties to offend the Church Ladies.

      It’s a Christianese Cocktease, giving the Church Lady readers their titillating porn fix while still remaining completely Christian-respectable (i.e. no actual S-E-X).

      “Not out of Heavenly virtue, but out of Hellish Respectability.”
      — G.K.Chesterton, one of the Father Brown Mysteries

  3. I can’t help but think of some of the stuff in the Left Behind deconstructions (I think it was Fred who wrote about this) where the RTCs are not just obsessed with being moral and upright (ha!), but appearing to be so, too. Rayford’s obsession with acting and appearing upright (and condescending) toward Hattie when they’re out to lunch together after she’s become Nicolae’s girlfriend, for example. Or various rules of courtship and interpersonal conduct between adolescents.

    Yet here we have Paul going up to a strange woman’s room after sharing a drink, with a history of taking any opportunity to cheat on his wife. So we basically have Jenkins breaking his own rules on how to present his protagonists – and I bet I know exactly why. So he can have Jae accuse Paul of cheating – because what the hell else would it look like? – and then be humiliated into accepting Paul’s “proper headship” or some shit when it comes out that for once he was just working to subvert the government and aid religious terrorism instead of getting some action.

    • It’ll be just as awesome as that time Jae accused Paul of cheating with Angela, and Paul can be righteously offended because he hadn’t had any intention of fucking Angela for a whole month. I mean, he still murmered to himself how much more he’d like to do so instead of patching things with Jae, but he was no longer planning to, out of his respect for god. No, not out of respect for Jae, don’t be ridiculous.

    • Yeah, just like the only other time Jae was in a position to call Paul on his infidelity (thanks Ivan), she turns out to be WRONG! Har har har, them silly womenfolks.

      • True, I guess it’s not quite the first time but it still feels pretty much like Jenkins going out of his way to lay traps for his non-RTC characters. A Jenkins novel is basically the Tomb of Horrors run by Jehovah the Demilich.

        • Exactly. If there’s any possible way to make the non-RTC look incompetent, foolish, humiliated, or otherwise inconvenienced, Jenkins will do it. And usually in the most awkward way possible.

  4. Ray Decenti. He makes up a fake FIRST name? That’s just…the Mitchell and Webb spy-drama-sketch was more convincing than this!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy


      Remember this is the Greatest Christian Author of All Time, the reincarnation of Ian Fleming in his own mind.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy

    As we discovered in Soon, Paul doesn’t like take-charge women with attitude like Bia Balaam and Calandre Caresse. He prefers them half-drunk.

    Alcohol. The original Date Rape Drug.

    “Candy is Dandy
    But Liquor is Quicker.”
    — Ogden Nash

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, March 7th, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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