Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Sorcerer's House

by Gene Wolfe

Grade: 2 1/2 stars
Story: Baxter Dunn just got out of prison, and he's destitute. But it just so happens that someone left him a very big, very strange house. And then he meets lots of ladies who help him, and finds a mysterious device which finds fish and money for him. And it gets weirder and weirder until the end.

Thoughts: This was a very strange book, and in the end, I'm not sure that I quite liked it. I kept waiting for some of the random threads to show up again. They mostly did all came together in the end, I suppose, but I still wish it had delved more into the characters and magic system. (For a somewhat spoilery example: Emlyn, Ieuan, and the triannulus--they never really showed up again after the first half of the book. I mean, the first two were important because of the fact that they were identical twins, but that's really it. And the last one never really showed up again at all, and had no real purpose in the story.)

However it really was a clever book, despite all that. I generally like a bit of strangeness in my books (The Man Who Was Thursday is one of my favourites ever, for example), and this really was close to being awesome. So close that I am definitely going to check out a lot of Wolfe's other books. Apparently one of his common attributes is unreliable narrators, which is a trope I love. (He wrote a series about a Roman soldier who has no short-term memory. It reminds me of the movie Memento, which was awesome.)

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