Steve McCann's Reviews > Litany of the Long Sun

Litany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe
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's review
Dec 12, 2007

it was amazing
Read in December, 2011

These books (this is a collection of two novels, themselves the first of four) explore the tension that exists between the unknown and the unknowable. What does it mean for the unknowable as the unknown is slowly (or suddenly) revealed? The main character, Silk, cherishes the unknowable: the energy exchanged at first glance between soon-to-be life-long lovers; the soul leaving in death, characterized here as a great vulture emerging from the storm to snatch away the life from a tortured body; the awe due to a god who can not be seen, only experienced. But what if these things are explained? Chemistry between two people nothing but pheromones, life nothing but programmable feedback loops of consciousness, reverence and epiphany simply a burst blood vessel in the skull? Like a gifted detective, Silk makes his way through this maze becoming sadder and more determined as his world is painstakingly and surprisingly explained. For the reader, his heartbreaking sense of humanity reveals itself as his faith continues to recognize those things which continue to hover just outside his grasp.
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