Luc doesn’t seem to be getting it. “Sometimes Roger would hear him trying chords on his guitar: pale sound without rhythm or sequence.” It’s a cliché, the eavesdropping parent, who intuits chaos and misdirection.
Simone doesn’t seem to think that Roger is getting it either. She confides, to another woman, that her husband has struggled in the past: “Roger, too, had been hampered by guiding principles. As a youth, he had read for his own pleasure. His life was a dream.”
And Roger is aware that his wife has her doubts about him. His perspective is not conservative enough, not bold enough, not daring enough.
In a conversation about whether a civil war would be a good way to address social tensions, Roger is quick and dismissive: “He said, ‘There are no good little civil wars’.”
But immediately after he has spoken, he hesitates to elaborate, fails to bolster his position. “But he knew what was said of him: that his heart attacks had altered his personality, made him afraid.”
They are traditionalists, Roger and Simone, but perhaps Simone is even more conservative in her thinking. “That night at dinner Simone remarked, ‘My father once said he could die happy. He had never entertained a foreigner or shaken hands with an English-man.’”