“There is a difference between the truth and what we wish were true.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Slow Regard of Silent Things
I don’t know how to begin this, but I know it must be begun.
I feel like maybe I should let this story settle. Maybe I should read it again. Maybe I shouldn’t be talking about it yet.
But once again, Patrick Rothfuss has astounded me.
Slow Regard is beautiful. It is perfect. It is careful. And fluid. And so effortfully effortless as to be offensive.
This is the kind of writing writers dream of.
I know Pat spent a good deal of time considering the names of the places in the Underthing. I know he pored over each alliterative tilt in the narrative. I know he probably spent days doing research on things that none of his readers would consider necessarily important details. I know that he included small bits of things most people would likely not pick up on.
That’s what I do.
The result is this astounding, miraculously even, and delightfully unsettling narrative which keeps a distinct voice throughout, unlike anything else Pat has published, and quite unlike most things I have read.
I don’t know how I feel about it.
But I do know this:
I needed to finish it in one go. Putting it down and letting it breathe was not an option.
I couldn’t listen to music on my way home.
It made me unduly sleepy.
So much so I actually had to stop after writing that brief list and sleep for 6 hours. (Granted, I do work overnights and ‘daytime’ is my normal sleeping period, but I slept late yesterday and should not have been so tired so soon.)
I will back what Pat says in the foreword of this story: If you have not read the Kingkiller books, do not start here. First read The Name of the Wind and then The Wise Man’s Fear, and then, maybe, and only maybe, should you read The Slow Regard of Silent Things. It is not a story written for everyone. For many it will raise more questions than it answers. It will make you think. It could drive you mad. You might hate it.
But for those who know how to go about things the proper way, who are willing to begin without expectations, only a bright curiosity, then this story will be marvelous.