47 pages 1 hour read

Thomas Pynchon


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1963

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Chapters 11-13

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 11 Summary: “Confessions of Fausto Maijstral”

Fausto Maijstral is Paola’s father. His Confessions are an autobiography, though in them he refers to past versions of himself as though they were different people.

At university, Fausto befriends the writers Maratt (the namesake of a key participant in the French Revolution of 1779) and Dnubietna (“our sins” in Maltese), who view themselves as “a grand School of Anglo-Maltese Poetry” (140). After university, Fausto joined a seminary. His training to become a priest was interrupted when he fell in love with Elena Xemxi (Maltese for “sunny”). Elena became pregnant and eventually gave birth to Paola. Fausto, Dnubietna, and an unscrupulous merchant named Tifkira survive the bombing of Malta, managing to escape to the neighborhood of Ta Kali.

Fausto describes being with Elena during the WWII Siege of Malta. Deeply in love, they stroll through town, eat, and watch children play. As the day grows cold, Fausto feels his anxieties mount.

Fausto blames his affair with Elena on the Bad Priest, who also has a sinister influence on the children who follow him through the streets and keep him under “surveillance” (157). Elena had her own encounters with the Bad Priest, who recommended that Elena abort her pregnancy.

Elena is killed when a German bombing raid blows up her volunteer ambulance.