The novel's excerpt on "Jain":

"You ask a profound question. You are a very intelligent man, Daddy. You ask, 'If you respect life in all forms, how can you live?' The answer is you cannot. The traditional way by which a Jain holy man ends his life is by salla khana—self-starvation. Ritual death by salla khana is the price paid for perfection by the perfect Jain"

"I cannot believe this is you. I have to tell you what I think.

"Of course you do."

I cannot believe, clever as you are, that you know what you are saying or what you are doing here or why. I cannot believe that you are telling me that a point will come when you will decide that you will not even destroy plant lite, and that you wont eat anything and that you will just doom yourself to death. For whom, Merry?. For what?"

"It's all right. It's all right, Daddy. I can believe that you can't believe that you know what I'm saying or what I' m doing or why."


His father was right. That was what happened. They raised a child who was neither Catholic nor Jew, who instead was first a stutterer, then a killer, then a Jain. He had tried all his life never to do the wrong thing, and that was what he had done.

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