Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Solider in the Mist by Gene Wolfe - review

I've been pondering this while idly surfing. And I truly don't know what to say. It's all kinds of good, and awesome, but a little hard to describe, for some reason.
Latro is a Roman soldier in 479BC who has, because of a head injury, lost his short-term memory. Every day, he writes in a scroll, which has “read this every day” written on it so he knows that he has to read it to figure out what's been happening to him. Oh yeah _ and he can see the gods. Who, mostly _ not so nice.
The book is in the first person, which makes it rather episodic, but somehow in a GOOD way.
Latro ends up in some mighty strange places, without having a clue how he got there, and yet somehow Mr Wolfe (because Mr Wolfe is fun to say ... try it in a Horatio Crane voice) pulls these oh-so-disparate strands together into a cohesive whole. (I nearly typed hole. A cohesive hole).
What I can't get my head around, is how Mr Wolfe managed to write a book like this, in which the people around Latro pretty much have to tell him who he is, and who they are every chapter, and not make it repetitive.
It's … okay, words are actually failing me. Which, if you knew me, you'd know how rare that was.
But it's genius. Sheer genius. There's a sequel as well, but I need to take a break from the awesomeness. And then maybe dig out my brother's copy of Shadow of the Torturer that I somehow ended up with several years ago (heh).
Mr Wolfe: I bow to your awesomeness. And I'm also going to go and cry in the corner for a little bit.


Ana S. said...

You're seriously making me want to drop everything to read this. It's time I lose my slight fear of Gene Wolfe and take the plunge.

Maree said...

That's so funny _ I'm a little bit scared of him, too. Even after _ ESPECIALLY after _ reading this.
Then I went and finished Smoke and Mirrors. Felt like I'd just taken a masterclass in writing.