Six weeks have passed and Harry explains how Death works. Every few thousand years, Death gets to live as a mortal. David’s real uncle died in war, but Death took his body and lived out the rest of Harry’s life. When the last of Harry’s line dies off, Death will return to his usual, unfeeling self. It begs the question whether Death has given David this gift for the betterment of David or as a way to end his life before David can have a family and children.
Harry is not always entirely honest with David. As an example to showcase how Death knows about your life before you die and experiences that life, he shows a man in a Red Sox cap and supposedly makes up a story of how is life was. Later we learn that he feeds that life of memories back to the person so that they experience it again on the moment of death but slower.
David in the past six weeks has been collecting huge chunks of stone from a demolition site, creating a brand new collection in his apartment, and managed to sell an old piece that covered his expenses for a couple weeks.
Although many of his pieces are abstract, they are a very large collection of his memories through his life. Whether intentionally abstract or not, there is only real clear depiction of his memory. a sculpture of his sister in her wheelchair. David explains later that he can recreate anything from memory, yet we are left to wonder if his memories save for one are now abstract and only the memory of his sister is clear, or if his intentions was to be abstract.
For all the power David was granted, it did not give him the ability to craft a singular vision in his art. In much of the book, he strives to create anything and everything without being able to connect to people with his art.
After being on cloud nine for six weeks, it all comes crashing down when no one at his showing appreciates his work, and the special gift he bought himself to celebrate overdrew his account and shut off his phone. This all culminates in him losing his apartment when the weight of all of his art falls through the floor. His new Russian landlord is none too pleased and says David owes twenty thousand dollars and prohibits David from getting his things.
Life continues to punch David in the gut when he smashes his phone out of frustration, lives homeless for days, mugged when he is penniless, and cannot contact his friend, Ollie. He goes to a library, remembering the promise he made to his dad to make a name for himself, and looks up a phone book of David Smiths in New York City. He is discouraged with the long list of people with the same name as his.
His once optimistic nature is gone as he hasn’t eaten in days, and the encouraging words from Meg that “everything will be all right” is not the case, despite his efforts. With it raining outside, he runs for the subway. In his delusions, perhaps from not eating, he screams at his hands, the tools he uses, that they have failed him. They were the things he devoted his life to, his dreams and his craft, only for them to fail in his work. When he runs at a subway train and almost falls onto the tracks, he is grabbed and pulled to safety.