The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Kingkiller Chronicle (Book #2.5 of 3)
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 159 pages (UK paperback edition)
Published: 28th October 2014 by Gollancz (UK) & 28th October 2014 by DAW (US)
Atmospheric, bizarre, and absolutely enchanting.
Before you start reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things, please make sure you read the author’s foreword first and set your expectations accordingly. Rothfuss has mentioned it himself, this is a different kind of storytelling from his main series, and we won’t get a continuation to Kvothe’s story here; I didn’t listen to his advice on my first read, and it indeed stopped me from enjoying the novella to its fullest potential. I expected something different, found myself disappointed, and I also made the mistake of rushing through the novella on my first read because I decided to read it in the middle of reading The Wise Man’s Fear.
Don’t do what I did on my first read.
On this reread, I savored each page, paying proper attention to the beautifully composed structure of words that gives life to Auri, one of the most enigmatic characters in The Kingkiller Chronicle series; I’m blown away by how much I loved this book upon rereading it.
Picture: The Underthing by Adam J. Marin
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a novella about Auri’s daily life and her seven days of making sure everything is in their right and proper place before Kvothe’s next visit. It is worth noting that although the novella takes place in-between chapter four and eleven of The Wise Man’s Fear, there isn’t an actual storyline, dialogues, or action scenes to follow here; Auri’s characterizations are entirely defined through her behavior, actions, and her internal thoughts. It’s definitely a bizarre book, it’s unconventional, it’s different, and it’s beautiful.
“Soon. She knew. Soon he would come visiting. Incarnadine and sweet and sad and broken. Just like her.”
I constantly praise Rothfuss’s prose, and even though it’s true that The Slow Regard of Silent Things is written in a different style compared to the main series, it doesn’t change my opinion that Rothfuss is seriously one of the best writers in the genre, maybe even THE best when it’s solely prose-related. The prose in this book is poetic, vivid, and stunningly written; there’s a palpable feeling of proper attention given towards each chosen word. And I genuinely believe that Rothfuss has chosen the right narrative style to tell Auri’s line of thinking.
“She felt the panic rising in her then. She knew. She knew how quickly things could break. You did the things you could. You tended to the world for the world’s sake. You hoped you would be safe. But still she knew. It could come crashing down and there was nothing you could do. And yes, she knew she wasn’t right. She knew her everything was canted wrong. She knew her head was all unkilter. She knew she wasn’t true inside. She knew.”
People who know me closely—my family, girlfriend, and my co-bloggers—know how organized and fixated I can be regarding my books and the arrangement of my inanimate possessions. It honestly troubles me when I know that some things aren’t in the right place. Sometimes, it aggravates me how much time I spend on making sure things are organized and set at the right place/angle/order.
I wish I could let it go, but I can’t.
“Some days simply lay on you like stones. Some were fickle as cats, sliding away when you needed comfort, then coming back later when you didn’t want them, jostling at you, stealing your breath.”
On this reread. I found that The Slow Regard of Silent Things speaks to me profoundly on a level that I thought wasn’t possible. It asked me to listen to Auri’s inner voice, and she told me that it is okay to pay extra care towards the silent things you cherish. It’s good to make sure everything is where it should be. Sure it’s slow, but it’s worth the time; doing things the proper way is right if it means revitalizing your day. It’s lovely to be unique and imperfect in your craving for perfection, even if it’s for the arrangement of things that have silence as their only voice.
“Answers were always important, but they were seldom easy. She would simply have to take her time and do things in the proper way.”
Auri is one of my favorite side characters from the series, and the significant level of emotional resonance found in the brief glimpse of her life in The Underthing is one of the main reasons why The Slow Regard of Silent Things is important to read for fans of the series. This won’t be a book for everyone, and I’m sure many readers would have valid reasons on why this book doesn’t work for them. I, after all, was one of those readers on my first read. On the Author’s Endnote of the novella, Rothfuss has mentioned that readers might enjoy The Slow Regard of Silent Things more on a second reading because most of Rothfuss’s stories are better on reread, and I have to 100% agree with this notion.
“I cannot help but wonder how many of us walk through our lives, day after day, feeling slightly broken and alone, surrounded all the time by others who feel exactly the same way… This story is for all the slightly broken people out there. I am one of you. You are not alone. You are all beautiful to me.”
Please do not skip reading the author’s 9 pages long endnote; in it, Rothfuss states the conception and importance of this novella. The Slow Regard of Silent Things in the hands of the right readers can be a friend, and I consider myself one of those readers. I hope you are, too.
Picture: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Marc Simonetti
The interior artworks are illustrated by Nate Taylor. I personally think he did a fantastic job of amplifying the atmospheric nature of the novella with his illustrations.
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)