'How could the Outsider have chosen such a bungler? ...When had he ever offered a single sacrifice, however small, to the Outsider? Never! Not one in his entire life. Yet the Outsider had extended infinite credit to him... Certainly he would never be able to repay the Outsider for the knowledge and the honor, no matter how hard or how long he tried.' (Gene Wolfe, Nightside The Long Sun)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Skilful Writing Style and Language Over Characterization and Plot

At worst, the narrative thrust may be blunted. Even parts of the latter two novellas of The Fifth Head of Cerberus come to feel less like stories and more like puzzles. You read them for the dexterity of the writing, not because the characters grip you or you wish to find out what happened next. But then, stylistic skill is as good a reason as any to keep turning the pages; you could say that when the storytelling momentum flags, Wolfe’s way with language is enough to keep you reading.

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