Amarante Durand, Charles Bridge, Corbeau, crow, Garcia Ferrara, JJ Abrams, magpie, merlin, Ostrero, oystercatcher, Pfeifer, Reinhold Feuerbach, Stenfalk, The Territory, Torsten Ekstrom, V.M. Straka, Vaclav Straka, VM Straka
In Chapter 9, The Territory, S. approaches the governor’s mansion (p354, p367 French). He is following the path that he discovered after Anca told him Follow the monkey. He finds the semblance of a simian face carved in tree bark and discovers a path. While on the path, he hears a howler monkey off in the distance. And then, he hears something else.
The air is full of birdsong, though the singers are unseen. Some of the songs sound out of place to him, and he catalogues them: a merlin; a crow; an oystercatcher; and a magpie tanager twicking heatedly.
The birds whose songs sound out of place are…
Merlin: the Swedish word for merlin is Stenfalk
Crow: the French word for crow in the French translation of S (p367) is Corbeau (ravens and crows are in the same family)
Oystercatcher: the Spanish word for oyster catcher is Ostrero
Magpie Tanager: The Czech word for magpie is Straka (Yen makes a good point below in the comments suggesting that this bird represents Filomela Caldeira.)
Here we have an outright reference to three of the characters from the book (Stenfalk, Corbeau, and Ostrero) – the three that were with S. as he fled from B__ to G__ after the wharf bombing. The only person missing is Pfeifer (sandpiper), and it is obvious why he is not present. His birdsong has been lost, and S. has an unpleasant rendezvous with him at the top of the hill he is climbing.
What is truly interesting about this list is that it seems to explicitly imply that S. is Straka – the magpie.
If you return to the margin notes of p124 (p129 in French), you will see that Amarante Durand and Torsten Ekstrom checked into the Hotel Voliery in Prague on October 30, 1910 – the day Vaclav Straka (the factory worker) is purported to have jumped from the Charles Bridge and never been seen again. They check into the hotel under the aliases A. Corbeau and T. Stenfalk and guest. The next day, Garcia Ferrara (Ostrero) and Reinhold Feuerbach (Pfeifer) check into the hotel.
And guest is implied on p364 to be Straka, the magpie. And yet neither Eric nor Jen have anything to say in the margins regarding this.
Was this nugget left for us to discover on our own? And, if so, does it strengthen the argument that Vaclav Straka is V.M. Straka? What do you think?