Archive for The Name of the Wind

the slow regard of silent things

Posted in Books, Kids with tags , , , , , , , on January 1, 2015 by xi'an

As mentioned previously, I first bought this book thinking it was the third and final volume in the Kingkiller’s Chronicles. Hence I was more than disappointed when Dan warned me that it was instead a side-story about Auri, an important but still secondary character in the story. More than disappointed as I thought Patrick Rothfuss was following the frustrating path of other fantasy authors with unfinished series (like Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin) to write shorter novels set in their universe and encyclopedias instead of focussing on the real thing! However, when I started reading it, I was so startled by the novelty of the work, the beauty of the language, the alien features of the story or lack thereof, that I forgot about my grudge. I actually finished this short book very early a few mornings past Christmas, after a mild winter storm had awaken me for good. And look forward re-reading it soon.

“Better still, the slow regard of silent things had wafted off the moisture in the air.”

This is a brilliant piece of art, much more a poème en prose than a short story. There is no beginning and no end, no purpose and no rationale to most of Auri’s actions, and no direct connection with the Kingkiller’s Chronicles story other than the fact that it takes place in or rather below the University. And even less connection with the plot. So this book may come as a huge disappointment to most readers of the series, as exemplified by the numerous negative comments found on and elsewhere. Especially those looking for clues about the incoming (?) volume. Or for explanations of past events… Despite all this, or because of it, I enjoyed the book immensely, in a way completely detached from the pleasure I took in reading Kingkiller’s Chronicles. There is genuine poetry in the repetition of words, in the many alliterations, in the saccade of unfinished sentences, in the symmetry of Auri’s world, in the making of soap and in the making of candles, in the naming and unaming of objects. Poetry and magic, even though it is not necessarily the magic found in the Kingkiller’s Chronicles. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is simply a unique book, an outlier in the fantasy literature, a finely tuned read that shows how much of a wordsmith Rothfuss can be, and a good enough reason to patiently wait for the third volume: “She could not rush and neither could she be delayed. Some things were simply too important.”

a pile of new books

Posted in Books, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2014 by xi'an

IMG_2663I took the opportunity of my weekend trip to Gainesville to order a pile of books on amazon, thanks to my amazon associate account (and hence thanks to all Og’s readers doubling as amazon customers!). The picture above is missing two  Rivers of London volumes by Ben Aaraonovitch that I already read and left at the office. And reviewed in incoming posts. Among those,

(Obviously, all “locals” sharing my taste in books are welcome to borrow those in a very near future!)

The wise man’s fear

Posted in Books with tags , , on April 17, 2011 by xi'an

I have finished the Wise Man’s Fear this afternoon. It is a wonderful continuation of Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind and as beautifully written. Obviously, because it is taking place in the same universe as the first volume and with mostly the same characters, some of the magic wears out, the beginning of the book at the University does not feel so exciting, even though it is like meeting back old friends, but then Kvothe has to leave and become the special agent of a local ruler, then an apprentice into a mercenary school. He also meets a legendary beautiful Fae, Felurian, does much more than survives the encounter, and starts becoming a legend. His very uncertain relation with Denna is underlying the whole book, with a frustrating pace that I hope will be explained in the next volume. While the writing style is as high as before, the plot has a few weaknesses that make the story contrived at times. For instance, the lengthy hunt for the forest bandits could have been both more elliptical and better motivated, while the training in Ademre does not seem that relevant, except to come up with a legendary sword ironically named Cæsura. But the part with Felurian and the subtle description of Kvothe’s half-abandon/half-resistance is masterly. And even though all sub-plots are not perfectly well-oiled and linked together, they tell great stories.

It will alas take another three or four years before the next (and presumably last) volume appears but the interval is worth the wait as it lets Patrick Rothfuss hone his style and sharpen his story. So far, I still rank The Kingkiller Chronicles as the best fantasy series of the past ten years…


Posted in Books with tags , , , on March 19, 2011 by xi'an

It arrived in my mailbox on Tuesday, not so long a wait considering the book came economy class from the US and was published on the 1st of March. I started reading The Wise Man’s Fear right away. The first page (and the following ones as well!) is beautifully written, as can be expected from Patrick Rothfuss.

“Dawn was coming. It was night again. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.

The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking. If there had been a wind it would have sighed through the trees, set the inn’s sign creaking on its hooks, and brushed the silence down the road like trailing autumns leaves. If there had been a crowd, even a handful of men inside the inn, they would have filled the silence with conversation and laughter, the clatter and clamor one expects from a drinking house during the dark hours of night. If there had been music…. but no, of course there was no music. In fact there were none of these things, and so the silence remained.”

Although the wait for the sequel to the Name of the Wind has been very long, I hope I can keep from zooming through this volume, in order to keep enjoying Rothfuss’ style, a style that took years to age. Just like a good wine.

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