Page 466-513: Karl Haas

In considering Karl Haas, we do well to revisit Guadalupe Roncal’s description of him for the benefit of Oscar Fate in the last part. Karl has eyes so blue that he looks blind.

He has the face of a dreamer, but of a dreamer who’s dreaming at great speed. A dreamer whose dreams are far out ahead of our dreams. And that scares me. Do you understand?

Page 300.

Oscar did not understand, nor could I at that point. In this section at page 488, however, I got a peek at one of Karl’s dreams, the most bizarre dream of the countless dreams recounted for us in this novel. In addition to the graphic content of the dream, Karl also features the prison to be a castle on the edge of a bottomless abyss. At the conclusion of his dream he curls up on the edge of the abyss and falls asleep to dream some more.

It is difficult to come to grips with the meaning of his ruminations that immediately follow to the effect that “[r]aping women and then killing them seemed more attractive to him, more sexy” than Farfán and Gómez’s sexual activities. Are we to take this idea to be a self-incriminating one? I do not think so. It can just as easily be taken as a way of expressing his deep revulsion when considering Farfán and Gómez. In any event this leads him to his fantasy about murdering those two men and throwing their bodies in the abyss. “. . .that will be the last of them.”

Whatever the case, Karl Haas is a disturbing man. His dreams have violence and sex all blended together in a truly macabre way. This is displayed in his conduct, also, as we witnessed in the gruesome scene when El Anillo attempted to rape Karl in the prison shower wherein the author finally comes through with the prison rape with blades to which Jeff refers below. Page 484.

Karl illustrates something nicely. Without a confession–and Karl is expert at avoiding that pitfall–the police are essentially powerless to investigate and solve a case.

It is Epifanio who has the lead in the investigation of Karl Haas. On the surface it appears that Epifanio actually does some decent police work for a change. However, I have no faith in the purity of Epifanio’s motives at all. The mere fact that Epifanio is the moving force behind Karl Haas’s incarceration is that which most persuades me that Karl did not commit any of these murders. Karl is a handy scapegoat for the police, and a scapegoat may be just thing that Epifanio is seeking. Obviously, that is saying a much different thing than that Karl is an innocent man, however. There are very few if any innocent men in this book.

Which all brings me back to the observation that I made somewhere else. The issue of who is actually torturing and killing these young working women has become strangely beside the point.

Lastly, there is this intriguing monologue from Karl at page 506 to which Daryl refers below in his discussion of the claustrophobic aspects of this section:

Haas said: the killer is on the outside and I’m on the inside. But someone worse than me and worse than the killer is coming to this motherfucking city. Do you hear his footsteps getting closer? Do you hear them?

So Karl Haas is not Nietsche’s Superman after all. Nietsche’s Superman is apparently yet to come. . .at least that is the way that Karl sees it.

–Steve Brassawe

One thought on “Page 466-513: Karl Haas

  1. Daniel April 14, 2010 / 5:59 pm

    Maybe Haas is John the Baptist, and Nietzsche’s Superman is the Christ who is not coming.

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