Nick's Reviews > Sword and Citadel

Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe
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Mar 07, 12

Read from February 29 to March 07, 2012

I just read an interview with Wolfe in which he describes Pale Fire as an 'amazing' book. This figures, and surely more people should be drawing Wolfe-Nabakov parallels. They're both fine prose stylists with an obvious love of language and a belief that a novel should reward re-reading; they're both interested in setting the reader puzzles which can only be solved by paying close attention to what is only hinted at in the text, or left unsaid; they're both concerned with the nature of story-telling, and they both seem okay with finishing novels via fourth-wall-smashing contrivances (Wolfe engineers a quite remarkable deus ex machina involving the descent of what are almost literally gods from a machine, gods who then proceed to defend their role as a plot device). The Book of the New Sun is a little more frayed around the edges than Nabokov's best work (there were a couple of scenes which I trudged through wearily, and one which had me rolling my eyes), but it's certainly the deepest and most subtle fantasy I've read, as well as the best written; far better than Tolkien.
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