“The Slow Regard of Silent Things” by Patrick Rothfuss (DAW, 2014)

The Slow Regard of Silent Things

If the author on the cover doesn’t grab you, then the wonderfully evocative title should. For fans of Rothfuss who are waiting for the third volume of The Kingkiller Chronicles, you may be a little surprised with The Slow Regard of Silent Things. For one, it is a short novella weighing in at 176 pages; for another, it’s not your usual story with a beginning, middle and an end, but more of a peeking into an incredible character’s life and world.

Readers of Rothfuss are already familiar with the special and unique character, Auri, and in this slim volume they get to see her in daily life, in her familiar abode deep below the university and the world we have come to know. Auri is very particular about the place she lives, naming each of the areas and rooms in her own special way. She knows that she will have a special guest coming to see her in a few days and wants everything to be as perfect as possible for Kvothe.

This is the story of Auri preparing herself and her home for a visitor, of how she finds him a special gift, of how she gets everything ready, and how everything needs to be just perfect. It is also the story of this truly unique person and how she functions in everyday life, how she sees the world and acts and reacts in it.

Rothfuss does a splendid job of creating a definitive voice for Auri and the reader really gets to understand her with this point of view, whether it’s about getting her bed ready, traveling to new and scary places, or how she goes about making a new candle. To some it might seem like a dull read, but told in this captivating voice, it is a wonderful story that whisks you away to this special world.

In the afterword Rothfuss admits to feeling very nervous about releasing this story; how it was something that came to him and was very personal about a character who is clearly very special, and how he had little intention of ever publishing it, but was convinced by his editor and agent and friends. It is a story he really wanted to write, and unsurprisingly it turns out be something wonderful and shows a different side to this epic fantasy writer.

Originally written on January 10, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

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