Norbert's Reviews > Pirate Freedom

Pirate Freedom by Gene Wolfe
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May 10, 10

Recommended for: anyone who loves a great, thoughtful story
Read from May 01 to 09, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 1

There was so much that was great in this story it's hard for me to figure out where to begin.

This is the tale of a boy studying in a Cuban monastery in the late 2000's who becomes a pirate in the late 1600's, told by that same boy, years later, when he is a priest. Right there that ought to tell you about the level of character development here. Like all Gene Wolfe books, you have to contend with the unreliable narrator, meaning you can't necessarily trust what you're being told, only that it's the most honest telling of that story from that character's point of view. It's up to you to figure out whether there's something else afoot. (I had my suspicions during my reading, but, again like all Wolfe books, this will require a re-reading. "Great literature is that which can be read and enjoyed once by any reasonably intelligent person and later re-read with greater pleasure.") I short, the story isn't in the page so much as it's in your head.

Another thing is the world created in the story: the narrator makes it a point to compare what we know about pirates in popular culture to what actually, including story-related "corrections" of the scholarly historical records. That along with flashes between the story and current events in the narrator's life make for very interesting counterpoint, and like with all Wolfe books, these counterpoints reveal more about the story than they first seem to.

I could go on about the characters and the world and the prose, but I'll end it with saying that you should read it yourself. This is probably the most enjoyable of the Wolfe books I've read so far. If I could give it more stars I would.
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