In the early 90s a friend gave me four paperback volumes of “The Book of the New Sun”. He’d said that he’d never heard of this guy, but he’d made three unsuccessful attempts to start the books and had finally “pushed through” and was impressed by their originality and craftsmanship. When I got to the third volume, my wife remarked that I sure was “spending a lot of time on those books. What are they about?” I told her that I had no idea. “Then why are you reading them?”
“I have to find out how it ends!”
I didn’t know yet that Gene Wolfe stories have no ending. Nor a beginning or middle.
It was disorienting to read an author who required from me a new way of reading a novel: To read it as people read the Bible or the poems of Blake or Cummings. It was as if an adult discovered a door in the house where he grew up that led to a new upstairs wing that he didn’t know about.
Some years later, I finally got around to reading “Peace”. I knew more by then. Half way through it, my wife asked, “Is it good?” “Oh, yes!” “What’s it about?”
“Well, that’s really the point of reading a Gene Wolfe story.”
Read the rest: Drip Drip Drip: On Gene Wolfe.