334

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These are notes for 334 by Thomas M. Disch.

First published as a novel in 1972, 334 is a fix-up composed of five previously published novellas, plus a longer novella also titled "334"— all about a group of interconnected characters living in New York City in the years 2021-2026. The sections in order:

All notes refer to the 1999 Vintage Books trade paperback edition; see Editions for others.

The "Summary" section on each page gives away some plot details, so avoid it if you're reading the book for the first time. The rest of the notes don't discuss any significant events that haven't already happened at that point.

Dedication

"To Jerry Mundis, who lived here."

The novelist Jerry Mundis, author of Slave Ship and Hellbottom, was a friend of Disch.[1] One of his novels is mentioned in the list of (nonexistent) film adaptations in 334 Part V (28).

Major characters

  • Nora Hanson, a resident of the public housing complex at 334 E. 11th St., unemployed.
  • Lottie (Loretta) Hanson, Nora's younger daughter, intermittently employed. Her children Amparo and Mickey.
  • Shrimp (Shirley) Hanson, Nora's older daughter, paid by the government to have children due to her high IQ.
  • Boz Hanson, Nora's son, Milly Holt's husband, unemployed.
  • Juan Martinez, Lottie's husband, morgue attendant at Bellevue Hospital.
  • Ab Holt, resident of 334, morgue attendant and black market dealer.
  • Milly Holt, his daughter, Boz Hanson's wife, public school "hygiene demonstrator."
  • Birdie Ludd, resident of 334, student, Milly's ex-lover.
  • Arnold Chapel, hospital porter at Bellevue.
  • Frances Schaap, resident of 334 and patient at Bellevue.
  • Alexa Miller, welfare agency middle management. Her son Tancred.
  • Bill Harper a.k.a. Little Mister Kissy Lips, classmate of Tancred and Amparo.
  • January, Shrimp's lover, unemployed.
  • Len Rude, graduate student and social worker in Alexa's department.
  • Richard Williken, resident of 334, photographer, unemployed.

Other reading

Footnotes

  1. "Worldmaker: Remembering Thomas Disch", John Crowley (2009)