The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss

Title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Author:
Patrick Rothfuss
Publisher:
 Gollancz
Publication date: October 28th 2014
Pages: 160
ISBN: 1473209323
Source: Gollancz
Rating: 4/5
Buy at: BookDepository

The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways – and in the heart of it all lives Auri.

Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names.

At once joyous and haunting, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a rich, atmospheric and lyrical tale, featuring one of the most beloved characters from Rothfuss’ acclaimed fantasy series.

 

Between my overflowing TBR pile and tiny bank account, I was sure I’d have to wait some very long months to take hold of this book. But Christmas came early and Gollancz shipped me a copy, something which I’ll forever be thankful for.

In my eagerness to read it all, to find out Auri’s story, to bask in the glorious writing that is Pat’s, I tried to read it in one go. But it didn’t take me long to realise that that wasn’t right. That wasn’t how it was meant to be. The Slow Regard of Silent Things wanted to be read page by page, day by day. It wanted to be savoured, not rushed. Not hurried. So I did what was right. I took my time.

For a week, tucked in bed, I’d let Pat’s words lull me to sleep. Just like before – with The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. You see, this book may have very little plot. It may have a single character and no dialogue. Yet the prose, the feeling of the book is like that of a fairytale. In spite of the harshness of Auri’s life, there is a soothing side to it. Like coming home in a freezing night – but not like that at all. This is too odd a book to explain.

Patrick Rothfuss was right. This isn’t a story for everyone. Hell, I’ll admit it. At times, I wasn’t sure if it was for me either. I’ve grown too used to books brimming with action. Part of me forgot how to slow down. But Auri reminded me.

“But what is the book about?!” you might ask. Well, simply put, it’s a week in the life of Auri. A week when she navigates the Underthing and goes about her business in preparation for his arrival. As usual. There are no villains or monsters. The conflict is her brokenness, nothing more, yet too much. Which is why Pat sums up this book beautifully in the afterword, “This story is for all the slightly broken people out there. I am one of you. You are not alone. You are all beautiful to me.”

So should you read it? This strange little story that defies most everything that a book is supposed to be? Yes. If you’ve read The Kingkiller Chronicles, yes. You might not find such an honest story as this on what it’s like to be human, to be a little broken. And besides, do you really want to miss such wonderful prose as this, “Soon. She knew. Soon he would come visiting. Incarnadine and sweet and sad and broken. Just like her.” I thought not.

(And if you haven’t read The Kingkiller Chronicles, get on it! You’ll find no prose more beautiful than this.)

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The book in a quote

“She’d strayed from the true way of things. First you set yourself to rights. And then your house. And then your corner of the sky. And after that… Well, then she didn’t rightly know what happened next. But she hoped that after that the world would start to run itself a bit, like a gear-watch proper fit and kissed wit oil. That was what she hoped would happen.”

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