Book: “The Slow Regard of Silent things”

Patrick Rothfuss’s works – “The Name of the Wind” and “The Wise Man’s Fear” both from the Kingkiller chronicle – undoubtedly earned a place amongst my favourite books even before I was done with them… and was left craving for more as soon as they ended! So when I learned that there was more material concerning this particular fantasy world, even if it’s just a short story (but a short story on one of the most intriguing characters) I had to read it sooner or later! Which I did last week.

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What I’m about to say may lead some to think that I wasn’t paying any attention to what was in front of me but believe it, I did and yet I’ve got to say that I’m not quite capable of making a solid judgement of this story – it’s odd and beautiful, simple yet deep, complex and full of mysteries even though it’s pretty straightforward, sweet and sad at the same time. There’s only one character, no dialogue at all and told from a third person perspective and yet, despite all this and all of the dichotomies I think I really liked it! Although Rothfuss himself warns us that this isn’t a tale for everyone – and for what I’ve seen either people love it or hate it – it’s far from his usual style and that, at first, he didn’t intend to ever publish it but I’m glad he did! No good story should be left in the drawer!

The Slow Regard of Silent Things concerns one of the most odd and fascinating characters of the Kingkiller Chronicle – Auri, a girl who lives unnoticed (or at least is left alone even if her existence is known) in the complex maze of tunnels, passageways and abandoned rooms that exist below the University, acting as its “heart” if you will. If you pick up this book hoping to get her whole back story explained and ready before you then you’re in for a disappointment as she remains mysterious as ever! By every hint given we do learn that she was a former student at the University but due to some largely unknown tragedy (at least that’s my guess) she has learned that there are mysteries better left alone, without trying to uncover its every secret and rationalize them all and prefers to tend to the world around her, seeing beyond the surface of things, understanding them in a more intuitive way and ultimately setting everything in its proper place in the world so that it may keep turning rightly and balanced!

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Her story here spans for a whole week, a week in which we follow her around the “Underthing” while she tend to what’s important in her life – what she collects, tries to understand and protects, setting them right in the end – while she explores the world around her, waiting for Kvothe’s visit and trying to find the perfect gift for him. And it’s as simple as that, nothing more and nothing less, it’s not concerned with explaining what happened to her, where she’s going of even unravel her mysteries, there’s no plot whatsoever but yet it’s still fascinating as we get to see some of the inner workings of her mind, how she sees the world with a childlike innocence that’s probably wiser that most would think and how she still grows.

Ultimately it’s an odd tale of an odd character that I would probably compare to one of those hazy dreams we can’t really explain. If you’ll like it or not that’s another question altogether.

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