Monday, May 6, 2013

Attending Daedalus

Deserted Estuary by Bruce Pennington
By coincidence I came across a used copy of Attending Daedalus by Peter Wright around the time I was finishing reading Solar Labyrinth by Robert Borski. Borski's book had a lot of tantalizing theories about Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun in it (even if I am inclined to only agree with around 60% of them), but seemed to focus only on the puzzles and mysteries of the series without actually discussing Wolfe's literary techniques. Attending Daedalus is definitely a good remedy for that, examining Wolfe's writing style and its effect on the reader throughout his career, with specific emphasis on the Book of the New Sun. Wright's writing tends to be overly-academic and dry (it was an English dissertation after all), but he illuminates the complexity of Wolfe's genius in a way that I may have intuitively grasped, but without an intellectual understanding the process involved.

All in all, my re-reading of Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, along with the various analysis of other authors, has deepened my already reverent appreciation of his works to a level of almost baffled mystification. How can he be so good?

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