Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Slow Regard Of Silent Things The Slow Regard Of Silent Things
by Patrick Rothfuss

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten
Jacqui Smith

Patrick Rothfuss is best known for the novels The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear to which The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a companion piece. The book, a long novella or short novel, is a week in the life of Auri as she makes ready for the appearance of a visitor.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a difficult book to describe because very little happens – unless you are Auri, then very significant events are happening on a daily basis. And a week is not long enough to properly prepare for the arrival of such an important guest.

Auri lives in fear of discovery and disturbance. Her part of the world is ordered, but changing at her pace. But she dreads any intrusion as that would bring unordered change. So she goes to great lengths to ensure that paths to her are as unmarked as possible. And she still has to be ready for her visitor! There’s just so much to do!

I found The Slow Regard of Silent Things a most pleasant diversion. A little something to whet the appetite while waiting for Mr Rothfuss to finish the third book in his trilogy. An afternoon high tea of a book if not a full meal.

- Simon Litten

One has to wonder why a publisher would send a book for review wherein the author specifically states in the foreword that "if you haven’t read my other books, you don’t want to start here". As it happens, I haven’t read Rothfuss’ other work, and so perforce I must start with this novella, stubborn creature that I am.

It’s an odd little piece at that, more poetry than prose in many ways. There certainly isn’t a lot of plot, and only one living character. This is Auri, and this is a week in her solitary life in the subterranean world which is the Underthing. For Auri, inanimate objects and locations have a life of their own. Everything must be in its place, and there is a certain alchemy about things and where they belong.

I would not say that The Slow Regard of Silent Things should be the usual door into Rothfuss’ world, but once there, I found it to be a pleasing and a restful place, full of poetry and meaning. There are times in life when this is just the sort of thing you want to be reading, and I suppose for me, it was one of those times. And if you’re not that kind of person, and it’s not that time, then you’ll hate it. This book will polarise people, especially those who thought Rothfuss ought to have finished the trilogy before wandering off in other directions…

- Jacqui Smith

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