The Book of the New Sun
Hwaet..... time to start off the slow read discussion. Is everyone good to go soon-ish?
Some general comments on how this will go:
- I'll post a new discussion thread each Wednesday, starting on the 20th March (most likely evening, UK time).
- The idea of the slow read is to give us time to discuss each few chapters, which will be around 40 pages each week.
- If you're rereading the book, try to treat it on its own terms, and read as if you're reading for the first time. Please don't rush ahead with the reading if you can avoid it, but equally, please try not to look ahead. Read it as if it's the first time through, and try not to say things in the discussion referring to later chapters. If you have a thought, note it, and come back when the later chapter comes around. Some of us will be more familiar with the book than others. Some of us will be reading for the first time.
- Also, if you can avoid it, please try to avoid falling behind.
Now, some Book of the New Sun specific thoughts: I don't think it's a "difficult" book, but there are some ways it's strange.
- It's a first person narration, and the narrator isn't always reliable. He doesn't lie, but sometimes evades issues, shows bias, and leaves gaps.
- There are plenty of mysteries when reading. We won't get to the bottom of them all. And the clues to some of these are where there are gaps. I think one can have a good time reading it without trying to puzzle everything out, but not everything is easily or clearly explained.
- Read without a dictionary to hand. This is unusual advice, but the author makes deliberate use of archaic words to invoke an exotic effect, and they're deliberately obscure ones. He does this rather than inventing words for strange and alien concepts, and for me it adds to the atmosphere. I'm not saying don't look things up- I'm suggesting don't stop reading a chapter to look things up.
- Have fun. Don't get hung up on what people say about there being challenges in working everything out, or the narrative not being completely traditional. It's not hard to read. It's interesting, and gripping. It's not pretentious. And it's an enjoyable read.
There's more on these points here, if you want to get yourself juiced up for reading.