Literature / Weathercock
By a Papal enactment made in the middle of the 9th century, the figure of a cock was set up on every church steeple as the emblem of St Peter. The emblem is an allusion to his denial of our Lord thrice before the cock crew twice . . . A person who is always changing his mind is, figuratively, a
— Brewer's Concise Dictionary of Phrase & Fablenote
, published in 2003, is the fourth novel by British author Glen Duncan. A bildungsroman
of sorts, it follows protagonist Dominic Hood as he matures from young boy to just-about-middle-aged, wrestling with his inner demons along the way. The problem with Dominic is that his inner demons aren't entirely figurative. At least, he doesn't think so. He's not entirely sure.
The Roman Catholic Hood grows up with an awareness that he's not like other people – things that horrify others only turn him on. This is, to put it bluntly, a novel about sex. Faith, love and friendship war with despair, evil and nihilism across the battleground of Dominic's fixation with his own sexual depravity, from Manchester to Manhattan by way of London and Goa. He is torn between keeping the faith, as Badass Preacher
Father Ignatius Malone exhorts him to do, and indulging his most horrific desires – a position embodied by the seductive Deborah Black.
Dominic is writing down the story of his life so far for reasons including, but not limited to, the chance of a new life and love with the miserably mysterious Holly and the recent and inexplicable visitations of the ghost of his dead best friend.
Weathercock contains examples of:
- Alcoholic Parent: Stella Kelp. You might argue she has a good reason.
- Author Appeal: Religious guilt and musing, of the Catholic variety and not, is common in Glen Duncan novels. This isn't his only novel about the devil. See also the revered love interest lost through the protagonist's own screwup.
- Badass Preacher: Father Ignatius Malone is a soldier of God. Exorcism really takes it out of you, as we see.
- Confessional: A regular feature in this very Catholic story.
- Bondage Is Bad: Mostly averted. Dominic considers satisfying his 'evil' sadistic desires within the BDSM scene, but notes that kink's consensual nature robs him of the unwilling victim he needs to get off.
- Flies Equals Evil: Kelp in the train carriage. It's a strong bet he's being beset by some evil unnoticed by Dominic and Pen.
- Hippie Jesus: Averted – at least for hobo preachers Jim and Jake.
Jim: People think “Jesus” and they think mmnaah, some hippy pussy in sandals, right?
Jake: Right. But those cunts are wrong. Dead wrong, right?
- Irish Priest: Father Feeney, and partly Father Malone.
- Oracular Urchin: Gregory Kelp. Much is made of his androgynous good looks, and he tends to come off a bit deep and unfathomable when he's having a prescient moment. His prescience even seems to carry over beyond death.
- Raised Catholic: A lynchpin on which the whole story hangs. No matter how hard he tries, Dominic cannot escape his Catholicism. At least, not until the very end.
- Self-Defeating Prophecy: Kelp forsees the train crash that would have killed them all, saving them from that fate; but doing so leads him directly to his own death.
- Vagueness Is Coming: "'Something's going to happen here,' he said."