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Archive for May, 2008

Decyphering Gene Wolfe

Reading Gene Wolfe is not an easy task. His prose is remarkable but some effort is required from the reader to put together all the pieces. My first experience was the famous Book of the New Sun series and it was overwhelming. Sometimes I felt lost but the larger-than-life fantasy and the masterful writing got me hooked. Reading the 4 books was a delight but I hardly managed to read more than 30 pages in a single session. Considering that a second or third read is required to completely understand what’s going on, I don’t know if I will ever spend the time to start again (1200 pages = 40 days). There are so many other books I want to read first that I rather keep this one for very cold and lonely winter nights.

Almost the same is true for the first masterpiece of Gene Wolfe, The Fifth Head of Cerberus. This collection consists of 3 marvellous interwoven stories that are hardly to understand in the first run. To re-read this collection is much easier though and I will definitely do it this year. The last of the 3 stories reveals important clues that are required for the other 2.

What I like about the books and stories is the fact that even the normal reading is satisfying. If you are willing to dive deeper you will find hidden clues that create an even bigger picture. That’s what I call craftmanship. Fortunately I still have some more books on my bookshelf that wait for me(The Wizard Knight and Latro in the Mist).

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