Just finished this novel, which is quite beautiful in its odd way, and strikes me -- however it may have struck other people -- as a deconstruction of Catholicism, and of Christianity generally. What does it mean to suffer for others? Does the idea even make sense? Does expiation by suffering create goodness, or poison it? Or both?
And can pity be a vice? It can be, I think, and this novel seems to think so too: a version of pride, of believing we can take care of people, that we know best for them, that we can intercede for them. And believing that so strongly, it's only a small step to deceiving them for their own good: protecting them from information that would only hurt them. The more we take on, the more we isolate ourselves, and the more we forget that we ourselves are deceived and pitiable and desperately in need of help.