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Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2)
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2011 Reads > S&C: How To Read Gene Wolfe by Neil Gaiman

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message 1: by Scott (last edited Feb 11, 2011 05:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Scott | 9 comments "How to Read Gene Wolfe" by Neil Gaiman

How to read Gene Wolfe:

1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.

2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far. It's tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at any time.

3) Reread. It's better the second time. It will be even better the third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the second or the third reading.

4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against grizzlies.

5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It's a knife-throwing act, and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes, earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn't mind. Gene is throwing the knives.

6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.

7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw in the mirror that night.

9) Be willing to learn.


Any other comments by those who have read Mr. Wolfe?


Colin | 278 comments ...i should have read this before my initial post about the book....

Jared (jaredforshey) | 32 comments I'm doing a re-read of the Book of the New Sun right now and I'm really surprised by a lot of the little details that I didn't notice before. I can easily imagine that following the discussions here and on the podcast will reveal even more things I never considered. I'm noticing that whole scenes even "look" different inside my head because of new notions and feelings I've developed about the characters involved.

message 4: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Ditto with Jared's comment. *So* much more I'm noticing both from my re-read, and from great comments here.

Larry (lomifeh) | 88 comments I've got to agree here, I am on my third re-read of the book and I am seeing things I missed before. I first read it when I was around 18 and then again around 30. Now I am 37 and see things I missed or things seem to make more sense. The book has, for me, aged very well as well. I notice a lot of my base conceptions about the characters have remained the same, I just seem to see some of their motivation better.

Scott | 9 comments I've noticed the text of The Shadow and The Claw to be very dense. I can see how a reread is warranted.

rock on.

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