(urth) 9 Ways to Read GW by Neil Gaiman

Matthew DeLuca deluca22 at tcnj.edu
Fri Mar 2 14:02:16 PST 2007

  How to read Gene Wolfe:

1) Trust the text implicitly. The answers are in there.

2) Do not trust the text farther than you can throw it, if that far.  
It's tricksy and desperate stuff, and it may go off in your hand at  
any time.

3) Reread. It's better the second time. It will be even better the  
third time. And anyway, the books will subtly reshape themselves  
while you are away from them.Peace really was a gentle Midwestern  
memoir the first time I read it. It only became a horror novel on the  
second or the third reading.

4) There are wolves in there, prowling behind the words. Sometimes  
they come out in the pages. Sometimes they wait until you close the  
book. The musky wolf-smell can sometimes be masked by the aromatic  
scent of rosemary. Understand, these are not today-wolves, slinking  
grayly in packs through deserted places. These are the dire-wolves of  
old, huge and solitary wolves that could stand their ground against  

5) Reading Gene Wolfe is dangerous work. It's a knife-throwing act,  
and like all good knife-throwing acts, you may lose fingers, toes,  
earlobes or eyes in the process. Gene doesn't mind. Gene is throwing  
the knives.

6) Make yourself comfortable. Pour a pot of tea. Hang up a DO NOT  
DISTURB Sign. Start at Page One.

7) There are two kinds of clever writer. The ones that point out how  
clever they are, and the ones who see no need to point out how clever  
they are. Gene Wolfe is of the second kind, and the intelligence is  
less important than the tale. He is not smart to make you feel  
stupid. He is smart to make you smart as well.

8) He was there. He saw it happen. He knows whose reflection they saw  
in the mirror that night.

9) Be willing to learn.

- Neil Gaiman


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