The Slow Regard of Silent Things

22739835In his Foreword, Rothfuss points that that people may not want to read this book. It’s not an ordinary book; there’s no plot. There’s no explanation of who Auri is, who she is anticipating, or even where she is. It’s probably not the first thing by Rothfuss that you want to read.

But.

But it is a beautiful object, but it’s a haunting chronicle of six days, but Auri is indeed a bit of the sun.

It’s a beautiful object: I have a hardcover version, and the cover picture is all shadows and moonlight and flowers and Auri’s silhouette. Nate Taylor’s black and white pictures are strewn throughout like the objects that Auri finds, and the text makes way for them so they work together companionably. I’d like to see more books with pictures in them, like this.

It’s not a novel, or a novella (150 pages in this wee format); it’s a chronicle. It outlines Auri’s actions and thoughts for six days. Some days are good, some days are bad. Some days Auri manages to fix rooms and objects so that they are just so and some days she doesn’t have anything to eat. Some days she makes soap. Some days she weeps.

Auri is the only character in this chronicle. In watching her for six days, the reader learns only fragments of her past and nothing of her future. We learn that she is a joyful creature – she grins all the time, and that mostly didn’t get annoying – but she is also deeply broken, and she knows she is broken and feels it keenly. And she knows that the world is broken, too, and she wants desperately to put it to rights, one little bit at a time – finding a place for a bottle, feeding another’s imagination, making soap properly. Anticipating a visitor and fretting about having the right gift.

Auri’s entire life revolves around doing things properly, and making the world right, and not wanting things for herself. I was at points humbled by her, and her willing and joyful self-sacrifice; at times enraged on her behalf, because clearly something has happened to make her so completely self-effacing. At times I was horrified – she has so little to eat – and at time intrigued, as when she contemplates her soap and knows that while it would be perfectly serviceable without perfume and other additions, how joyless to live in a world that was simply <i>enough</i>.

There’s something like 16 pages of making soap. Sounds crazy, I know. Trust me, it works. Or, you know, don’t trust me, because this isn’t your sort of book anyway. That’s fine. I really liked it. (I really liked the first two of Kingkiller Chronicles: The Name of the Wind, then The Wise Man’s Fear.)

This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost. You can get it from Fishpond.

One response

  1. […] wonderful books that make me happy to be reading. It kinda reminded me of Patrick Rothfuss’ Slow Regard of Silent Things – there’s more plot here, but the sensibility somehow feels […]

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