Texts within texts (whose edges are inseparable from other texts), interchangeable characters and voices, repetitious passages, circular motifs and echoes — these cannot easily be forced into a purely logical meaning; they confound our desperate attempt to control and confine fragmented reality through the medium of point of view.
Every story, insofar as it mirrors our experience, has a double character of which we cannot make sense. The Mummery Book, therefore, is a criticism of the very idea of narrative itself as a masked harness that we put on all of our experiencing while attempting to ride out life’s paradoxical progressions.
The undermining of narrative, even as it is used meaningfully, is suggested by the two central sections into which the narrative of The Mummery Book is divided.
"The Incident" comprises Raymond's journey through "The First Room," "Quandra Loka" and "The Mummery." It portrays his encounter with the conventional categories of subject-object experience (Mom-and-Dad, Quandra, Saint-and-Ear), and it makes plain their binding hold on human consciousness.
But "The Judgement" begins after Raymond is confined to an asylum. Raymond literally stops moving through various levels of experience; instead, the reader is taken on an in-depth tour of Raymond’s consciousness, in which Raymond’s voice and that of the narrator alternate and blend.
"The Judgement" is an esoteric commentary on the preceding experiences. It represents Raymond’s refusal to play the mummery game of self-delusion, and his breaking of "the Spell of merely-human mind!"
"The Judgement" comprises three chapters, with the same names as the three parts of "The Incident," but in reverse order: "The Mummery," "Quandra Loka," and "The First Room."
Thus, this section passes "judgement" on the category of mind, that faculty which itself passes judgement, and with which we try to make sense out of experience by imposing form on it.
But it is precisely that self-binding, self-deluding faculty of mind — "a manufactured 'Thing'," a "repetitive assembly-line of laborless, Machine-made parts" — that needs to be broken. The reverse order of the chapter titles implies that Raymond has transcended his journey across the room of mind, whereas previously his experiences led him merely to other experiences.
We remember also that Raymond’s birth in the first paragraph of the first chapter is described as a falling down "to Whitest death — by Falling! down, to all his life."
The three inverted divisions of "The Judgement" describing Raymond’s incarceration and death suggest that his birth is a death and vice versa. "The First Room" therefore attains a much greater meaning — it is where Everything takes place, the mummery and that which transcends it, the partial views and the whole view, but now recognized as such.
The reversal of the chapter titles implies a palindrome of space-time linearity, wherein everything that "happens" begins and ends in "The First Room," which from one point of view is a prison but which from the "viewpoint" of no-difference is the room of rooms that transcends point of view.
Raymond's two deaths thus link the beginning and end of the plot to each other; the plot, too, is a Mobius strip on which the transcendental and the immanent are one, thus conflating narrative as a category we impose on reality. Raymond dies in the plot, returned to a beginning when Quandra was lost. Or was she?
The Mummery Book continually finds dazzling and varied ways to restate this paradox of no-difference.
If the situations in The Mummery Book occur when the totality is diffracted into different perspectives, then from what perspective is this fact grasped? Or conversely, if the room is apprehended from a limited point of view, what does the room really look like?
The text drives these questions — as does the title of the book itself.