This is my first time posting, so please forgive any mistakes regarding conventions of the forum.
Earlier this year I was watching a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, which happened to take place in Buffalo, NY because COVID travel restrictions. During an inning with not much action, the YES commentators started discussing how the air in Buffalo is notorious for smelling like breakfast cereal because of a waterfront General Mills plant. The company has used this plant to produce Cheerios and other products since 1928.
You can probably see where I am going with this, but I believe Grainball City in Lolita, which HH also describes as "grain-handling," might therefore be an alias for Buffalo. To support this theory, here are some locational indicators in the text:
- HH first meets Rita "somewhere between Montreal and New York, or more narrowly, between Toylestown and Blake...(Ch. 26, P. 1)" Buffalo, NYC, and Montreal actually form somewhat of an equilateral triangle, but Buffalo is between the other two in terms of latitude (picture included). I have no correlates for Toylestown and Blake, other than possibly Doylestown, PA, which is near Philadelphia and is slightly south of NYC. Geographically I believe this positioning checks out as a location Rita would go to while staying outside Buffalo.
- In describing Rita's "fatal attraction" to Grainball City, where she is paid to stay out of by her brother the Mayor, HH writes, "...she would find herself sucked into the lunar orbit of the town, and would be following the flood-lit drive that encircled it — "going round and round,” as she phrased it, 'like a God-damn mulberry moth.' (Ch. 26, P. 2)" I do not know Buffalo well enough to be certain that is is a noticeable feature of the city layout, but you can see in the map I have attached that there seems to be two circular highways around the Buffalo area.
-On their way back East from California, and on the way to NYC, HH and Rita wake up after a night of drunken revelry in a hotel, which ends up being in Grainball.
A few other miscellaneous clues: HH also describes Grainball as "ball-playing, Bible-reading..." and a place "where they hold conventions and where labeled, fat, pink men stagger around, all first names and business and booze...(Ch. 26, P. 2, 4)" I could not find much on the religious history of Buffalo, and while there certainly were sports teams before and during publication, the major franchise Buffalo Bills were established in 1960. Lastly, this may be from distant and possibly invented parts of my memory, but Buffalo does seem like a city for business conventions.
I know this is a trivial decoding, but it is the first one I have found in a VN novel (To the best of my knowledge; I did searches and could not find anyone else having made this connection). I am new to this community, and so I just wanted to say hello and provide a little nugget for the good people who love VN's work.
Please let me know if you have any comments, or if you have a different theory!