To say that Gene Wolfe is a difficult author is both a compliment and a knock. In Shadow of the Torturer, the first in a four book series known as The Book of the. The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume of the four-volume “One expects any book from Gene Wolfe to be a classic — and here it is. Gene Wolfe’s science fiction is neither operatic nor scientifically accurate; his In the early part of the first novel, “The Shadow of the Torturer,”.

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He is better than the average fantasy author, but he resembles them more than he differs from them.

His book The Fifth Head of Cerberus has been widely praised. We receive referral fees for all purchases not just books.

Like I said, I have had a lot of bad experiences with Fantasy during this time period. The terms are scattered throughout the book, but rarely contribute to a more pervasive linguistic style, as might be seen in The Worm OuroborosThe Lord of the Rings, Gormenghast, or The King of Elfland’s Daughter.

He is the ideal narrator for a work this ambitious, as he tackles the baroque story with gravitas, confidence, and enthusiasm. Learn how your comment data is processed. See all free Kindle reading apps. I’d love to know what you think.

His characters are so over the top stereotypical they come across as comic book villains. The silent hipparch is present and the combat begins, with Severian rapidly learning the rules of avern combat.

WolfeWiki – The Shadow of the Torturer

That and the feeling that this book didn’t feel completely self-contained, but a continuation of reading the next book in the series is a must. This literary device is equally vital to understanding the layers of meaning in his book Peace.

Maybe I’m simply freer with praise and lax criticism because it is, ostensibly, SF? Mystery and horror aboard a haunted spaceship Sunday Status Update: The author deserves the kudos he was reaching for. His narrative is occasionally disorienting because there are times when things simply don’t seem to add up, he glosses over details that the reader might feel are important, or references people or events that suddenly seem important to the story which happened pages and pages back that the reader has forgotten.


All memory or Armstrong and earth has washed away. The whole thing is dreamlike in quality, unfathomably large in scope, deliciously, slyly puzzling.

Dec 17, Ryan Mishap rated it did not like it Shelves: Jun 16, Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing Shelves: It would be a long and painful wait for the second th. We are learning about the torturers’ guild and the world beyond their doors through the eyes of apprentice torturer, Severian.

The Shadow of the Torturer – Wikipedia

I started reading this book almost without preconceptions, having just read a short review in a newspaper on the new translation of the second book. I love the oddness, originality, and challenge of it, the way that events I knew I saw coming didn’t happen, and the unsettling sense that there’s way more going on here than I’m being explicitly told and that it will probably take several readings to fully if possible uncover it.

He is by no means an easy author to read. It shadpw an outcome that is constantly alluded to but never fully explained, though Wolfe later explored this is more detail while still retaining much mystery wopfe a companion coda wolfr The Urth of the New Sun He has a mastery of the language not often seen in fantasy writing again the comparison to Le Guin.

Read slow, read carefully, read thoughtfully, feel yourself absorbed into this world. Books by Gene Wolfe. Severian stumbles and falls into the water.

The Book of the New Sun: science fiction’s Ulysses?

This comes with a lot of hype. Conversely, he tantalisingly hints at future events he tells the story as though it were a memoir, writing it from a possibly much older perspective but doesn’t really break up his narrative to explain them, so the reader is constantly wondering in exactly what manner Severian’s circumstances seem to have changed so much.

To be truly shhadow I’m not sure if I fully even understood a lot of the ggene section of the book because it’s just so messy and filled with such randomness and wordiness that I’m not sure how anyone but the author can truly claim to understand it.


As they move northwards, behind them they see the Cathedral of the Pelerines leap into the air and burn, borne aloft on the air of the fires. The novel moves at a brisk pace and, unlike his contemporaries in both the fantasy and science fiction genres, Wolfe does not waste any time on long explanations of the society and structure, thf instead that such things be revealed through dialogue.

Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer

Jonas, a middle-aged man with a hand of metal, overhears Severian talking about the Pelerines and tells them that the sect have left Nessus already, by this Gate, travelling north.

Refresh and try again. He’s a talented writer that can make a pretty sentence. After returning to the United States he earned a degree from the University of Houston and became an industrial engineer.

I won’t give away details as For this re-read, I adopted a hitherto untried approach: The Book of the New Sun [1]. A friend at work where people ought to know about such things tipped me off to Gene Wolf and told me to start here. There are three real “action scenes” that I can remember and they are over before you know it.

He should have skipped the entire soul-reincarnation bit. Much of the power of this novel comes from the sense that there is world-building and symbolism on a massive scale here, but that explanations and revelations for the reader would just cheapen it and remove the pleasure that comes from the experience of discovery. In order for unreliable narration to be effective, there must be some clear and evident counter-story that undermines it.

I can definitely see why. And yet throughout the story, Severian himself is a naive and conflicted character, one who struggles first to set aside his training as a torturer and executioner, and later as a man fighting to understand his role as a possible bringer of redemption and resurrection to a corrupt and dying world.