Archive for The Wise Man’s Fear

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 amazon.com 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.”

Surprising recycling!

Posted in Books, pictures with tags , , on May 15, 2011 by xi'an

The US cover of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear is this above gloomy passage in what appears to be a medieval fortified city… (It could be Edinburgh, it could be Saint-Malo, any idea anyone?!) So I am surprised the same picture is used for another 2004 book, Powers of Detection, which is a collection of short stories edited by Dana Stabenow, featuring Anne Perry, Charlaine Harris, and others…

It is not exactly the same picture, since taken from under a covered passage, but it is definitely the same place! It is unlikely that Powers of Detection has such an audience as to confuse Rothfuss’ fans, but I wonder if this will require a change of cover for the second printing of The Wise Man’s Fear.

Arrived!

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.