Things become clear as JRF suddenly becomes the focus of a KGB investigation and the difference between those characters that are real and in his mind are laid bare. Although he has moved department the work he was involved in with the mentally ill has damaged him as the KGB take anyone mad or sane seriously and have the ability if required to rehabilitate someone clinically insane if they could be a good witness.
The funniest part is when the investigators come up against Marx, Beria, Stalin and Lenin – the characters that populate JRF’s mind and try to pin down who they are.
“’Right’ said the leader of the team of operatives. , ‘the connection between JRF and the “Workers’ Group” has been confirmed. Those members of the group that have been arrested have identified him. We now know who have been hiding behind the nicknames Terrorist, Poet and Herself. As yet we have been unable to identify Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Iron Felix, Beria and Himself.’”
Bullet points between pages 122 – 202
* Hanging out with people that talk, however madly, about the prospect of blowing up the head of the KGB was bound to land JRF in trouble and sure enough he is called in to discuss the terrorists plans
* But almost instantly the case is no longer about the Terrorist and the idea that he had also outlined of a workers’ group but is about JRF and the KGB sense there is a chance to pin something on the sane element of the investigation JRF himself
* In parallel to talking to JRF all of his friends and colleagues are also dragged in with some being encouraged to try to encourage him to discuss terrorist attacks and others being told to write down details of conversations that might incriminate him
* All the time the voices in his head – Beria and Iron Felix – with direct experience of the secret service try to give him advice that will help him counter the growing storm that threatens to undermine his good work in the academy
* Despite all of this he is still searching in vain for the woman who gave him the ottoman and she writes a letter that tells him that she never intends to see him again and that seems to be an end to the matter