Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set in the world of The Kingkiller Chronicle and readers familiar with those books will find interest in this stand-alone tale featuring Auri, one of the characters in that series. I’ve been a fan of Rothfuss since reading the first volume, The Name of the Wind, and its follow-up, The Wise Man’s Fear validated my initial reaction. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a novelette offering some insight into Auri, and takes place over a period of several days. Presented as a “slice of life” so to speak, the story is propelled by a series of incidents - some dangerous, some simple - as Auri goes about her business. The attraction here is really the quality of the writing for Rothfuss is that kind of writer who could re-write a phone book and make it interesting. The book includes some fine illustrations by Nate Taylor. Basically, a character study, The Slow Regard of Silent Things will be incomprehensible to readers unfamiliar with The Kingkiller Chronicle. Rothfuss explains this rather poorly in the foreword and therein we find the book’s flaw. In the “Foreword” and “Endnote” Rothfuss makes the critical error of assuming that he’s smarter than his readers and attempts to explain why The Slow Regard of Silent Things is brilliant but probably not everyone’s cup of tea. It all struck me as pompous and self-congratulatory and injures the book. The “Foreword” and “Endnote” should never have been included. Every book has its own soul, as the late great Don Pendleton pointed out, and the last thing we need is the author flashing us his ego like a doofus in a bathrobe and telling us how great he is even if we don’t like what we see. I enjoyed The Slow Regard of Silent Things for what it was, a well-written character study that held my attention. Nothing more, nothing less. For DAW collectors this is DAW # 1670.

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