02 December 2008

Writing on Reading: Litany of the Long Sun

Don't you love it when you find a new book to love? Last week I plowed through Gene Wolfe's Litany of the Long Sun (which is actually the first half of a longer novel called The Book of the Long Sun.) I had not picked up a Wolfe novel before because I was not crazy about his Nebula and Locus award-winning story, "The Death of Dr. Island." Now I'm sure glad I gave him another chance. Litany is science fiction that in many ways reads more like a fantasy. It takes place in a single world where advanced technology is more of a valued relic than a commodity. The protagonist is a parish priest who, up to the events in the story, lived a very simple and rudimentary life. The priest in an incredibly likable character who struggles through moral dilemmas and physical threats in a way that is both admirable and believable. As the plot unfolds, Wolfe makes surprising connections between events and reveals the secrets of the world. He is a master of foreshadowing and of taking seemingly insignificant events and making them huge.

As it turns out, Wolfe is a prolific writer. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of his books as soon as I can get my hands on them.


lesleylsmith said...

Yes! Finding a new book to love rocks! :)
Your phrasing is curious though, "plowed through" sounds difficult?

David E. Hughes said...

No--I meant that I started reading and couldn't stop: 500-some pages over a few days.

laughingwolf said...

thx... will check it out when i find time

writtenwyrdd said...

One of my favorite series has always been Wolfe's Earth of the New Sun series which starts with Citadel of the Autarch. The several (three?) series of books start with that one. And they are all brilliant books.

But all of Wolfe's other books have been less enjoyable for me.