Book Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

I won’t even try to deny it – I bought this book for the title. Go ahead, take a second, and read it again. Doesn’t it just make you shiver, wonder? This review may, at times, feel like I am being very down on this text. Nothing could be further from the truth. I enjoyed it thoroughly and devoured it in about two days. In the spinning, varied universe of art, some works defy classification. The Slow Regard of Silent things. Is one of them. When I say that it lacks a certain thing or that it is filled with another, those are not value statements or judgments. These things simply are.

I review what I read and I read a variety of genres. As always, if you have a book you are interested in seeing reviewed in this space, feel free to contact me.

The Basics: 

Title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things
Author: Patrick Rothfuss
Genre: Fantasy. Poetry. Art. 
Publisher: Daw Books Inc, 2014

Spoiler-Free Summary: 

A strange young woman lives in the sewers and collapsed ruins beneath a city. The reader follows a week of her life as she prepares for the arrival of a mysterious He. She braves great dangers to explore and order her world, always on the lookout for the perfect gift to welcome her coming friend. Who is the girl? Who is the visitor? What is the nature of this strange subterranean kingdom? What lies beneath the iron door? These mysteries unfold slowly, almost gently. 

I understand from the author’s forward and Amazon reviews that this book is a spin-off deep-dive into a character from the Kingkiller Chronicles series. They advocated that I read the source material first. I did not take their advice. While I have no doubt that this step would have helped me understand the basic action more clearly, I found that it was not necessary to enjoy the book for what it is. 

Why this book might be for you:

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is highly poetic prose. There is little plot, and only one character. Nothing occurs that you would really call action, and the mysteries are light. What this book is, however, is a masterwork of the english language. If you allow yourself to steep in the unique turns of phrase, the powerful images, the poetic rhythm of it all, and just enjoy your feelings, you will love this book. 

To make a metaphor from film, this is not your franchise blockbuster, or even your oscar-season drama. This is your arthouse, Sundance, criterion-collection indie film that your one friend from college loved, but few people seem to get. If this book were a painting, it would be neither a renaissance masterpiece nor modern pop-art. At times, it is impressionistic. At others, it is abstract art, a Jackson-Pollock-esque splash of colors in words. 

Why this book might not be for you: 

If you need all the traditional things that I have already said this book lacks, and are not interested in trying something different, then this is not the book for you. 

Where can you find more?

In addition to the usual Amazon and Goodreads sites, you can find Partick Rothfuss at both his web site and his blog

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