Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 4

Slow-Regard-Front-Cover-edited

Chapter 4: A QUITE UNCOMMON PLEASANT PLACE

Are you sure it isn’t an unquite common not-unpleasent place

What kind of place will this be? What will happen in the place? Will there be multiple places? Let’s fine out!

EVENTUALLY A CLOUD hid the moon. Smug thing.

I’ve been harping on this a lot, but as the book offers absolutely no plot I must harp on it more: so much of the narration is just completely meaningless bullshit like what you see above. Auri describes a cloud as “smug” or a door as “bashful” or whatever, none of which means anything; you could literally just pair up random nouns with random adjectives and get the same result. Corpulent floors! Whimsical chairs! The nuclear reactor sure is looking magnanimous today! Earlier I said this book was all about playing with language, but this isn’t even that, it’s just random nonsense.

Auri scurries back into the Underthing after unsuccessfully looking for Kvothe. Then she gets that bone she found in the first chapter and buries it near a graveyard in the University grounds. Then she eats some mushrooms. Then she finds a small house.

By the way, I’m not being reductive by summarizing the plot that way- the actual narration is literally “and then Auri did this, and then she did this, [proletariat shrubs or whatever], and then she did this”.

Then she finds a huge dog.

It massed half again as much as her, its shoulders coming nearly to her chest.

Either Auri is really tiny or this is a seriously big dog.

Then Auri goes into a barn.

Auri spent some time there, looking over everything . The grindstone. The quern. The small, well-fitted churn.

Goodnight quern! Goodnight Churn! Goodnight pointless side character wasting my time!

Quern-stones_in_China_small

querns, apparently

It was a quite uncommon , pleasant place

chapter title droooooooop etc

Auri basically just steals some food from the barn, which, okay. Maybe another reason she shouldn’t be living on her own. But she leaves behind a white lace that’s full of autumn or something! The farmer can eat that right

She would have loved to have some butter too , as hers was full of knives.

You should probably fix that

On the way out a young girl in the house spots Auri so she starts cavorting around whimsically and leaves a chunk of crystal in a tree trunk for the girl to find. I wonder if this is supposed to be Auri giving rise to a story about fairies? Because, you see, there are fairies in this world, but they’re not like whimsical whimsy-fairies, but now Auri is acting like a whimsical whimsy-fairy, and it’s all very clever indeed.

Huh chapter’s over already? Man these are getting shorter.

[blog-o-note: some comments recently got caught in the spam filter for some reason, if your comment didn’t appear that’s probably why]

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20 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 4

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch 5 + 6 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. braak

    Anyway, I just want to again log my disappointment, I still think that Rothfuss’ idea, which he never fully-explored in the books and seems to have abandoned almost as quickly as he thought of it — that magic was only possible through essentially the selective cultivation of a kind of disassociative identity disorder (Kvothe often talks about breaking his mind into several pieces in order to have it do multiple things at once, including keep a secret from itself) — is actually a really fascinating idea and an excellent one to undergird an epic fantasy like Kvothe’s. It is ALSO a really great idea to do a spinoff short story told entirely from the perspective of someone who cultivated that DID quality and then it went wrong, writing from inside a sort of shattered mind as a way of filling out both what the idea means, of exploring a non-linear perspective in terms of writing, and lending some credibility to how and why Auri can live down here by herself.

    (For example, what if Auri really WAS a foundation for stories about fairies, because actually she was dangerous since she can still use magic, and that’s why no one has ever come to collect her — and maybe that’s also why Kvothe is hesitant to try to get her out of the sewer. Maybe she has a nemesis personality [oh, shades of Ursula LeGuin, look a reference to a famous epic fantasy without pilfering!] that she struggles with because it shares her body. Maybe she’s able to make a task-specific consciousness that only shares part of her perceptions [i.e., hearing, smell, the ability to see the color blue] in order to achieve specific goals [maybe she leaves behind her sense of cold and her sense of running out of air so that she can swim as deep in sewage as she likes], &c.)

    There was actually the potential for a lot interesting stuff in this.

    Reply
  3. braak

    Assuming Auri is an even five feet tall (she is described as being pretty small, but not small-outside-the-order-of-ordinary-human-smallness), about to her chest you’d figure would be 45 inches, or three quarters of her height.

    The world record for the tallest dog is 44 inches from paw to shoulder. So, yeah, the dog is well remarkably tall or she is well remarkably short.

    Reply
  4. andrea harris

    I really dislike the Child-Woman Who Exists To Bring Out Tenderness And Protectiveness In Males character. I hate all the stock characters in his oeuvre (even those same stock characters that I can tolerate elsewhere, like the Naive Young Hero Who Seeks). I know this is fantasy, but it’s fantasy based on mid-20th century fetishes that still dominate Western masculinist culture, and frankly if I have to read bullshit full of stock characters (The Naif, the Old Goat, the Nutty Professor, the Snotty Senior, the Ingenue, the Sexy Older Woman, the Kook–that’s our Auri by the way) that belong in Playboy’s fiction pages I’ll read Playboy. (And actually I’m doing a disservice to Playboy–they published Ursula K. LeGuin once.)

    Reply
    1. Reveen

      The entire concept get’s creepier the more I think about it. The whole archetype of the innocent but nubile female character has a strong aftertaste of incest to it. We have this character who’s young, and wide eyed and needs protection, like a younger sister or even a daughter. But at the same time she’s smokin’ hawt and wants the protagonist.

      To me it’s all part of this weird fantasy to have a woman in your life that performs all the feminine roles at the same time, sister, child, wife, friend, lover, all in one package.

      Reply
  5. steamysalt

    Are we even %100 certain Auri isn’t a child? Or is it pointed out in one of the other books that she’s a grown woman? I honestly can’t recall anymore.

    Reply
  6. literarymoses

    He’s not even playing with language. I bet he thinks he’s really smart and breaking boundaries and shit, but I’m sorry Rothfuss, saying an inanimate object has a personality or human characteristic isn’t playing with language. (nor is it new; personification has always been common). He’s literally just taking this character, giving her one quirk to personify every single thing around her, and exploiting the fuck out of it.
    And she’s not mentally handicapped, unless if you consider “quirkinson’s disease” or something a real mental handicap. She’s just a fucking child in a grown-up’s body.

    I just… why…. why are so many people orgasming over his “fantastic, poetic, and deep” writing? It’s absolutely terrible, atrocious writing. I’ll admit he has written some really good sentences and sections, but for the most part it’s just so juvenile and amateur and everything that is wrong with fantasy writing.

    Also has he just been title dropping in every single chapter? That just seems unnecessary. I guess he writes a chapter, scan through for what seems like the most “poetic, meaningful, quaint” line and sticks it into the chapter header.
    Which, again, immediately gives me warning bells that he’s deluded and a terrible writer.

    Reply
    1. Chackludwig

      It’s actually really insulting that he likens her to mentally ill people, probably ADHD in particular. And I can tell you, ADHD is not twee and whimsical.

      Reply
      1. Austin H. Williams

        Nor is ADHD so utterly destructive as to force people into homelessness.

        It’s like he heard somewhere that the homeless population had a high percentage of people with mental illness in it, and then proceeded to make up his own mental illness so he could stick a waifu in there for his fanboys. This is clearly how one succeeds in genre literature.

        Reply
      2. literarymoses

        It’s really insulting to any mental illness because honestly this plays mental illness as if it’s a cute thing, rather than a life-threatening thing.

        Question, has rothfuss explicitly stated anywhere that she is in fact mentally handicapped? Or did she maybe suffer huge trauma as a child and it turned her into this? Or is she just a “twee whimsical weirdo for the sake of cute things and showing a “different perspective” on life” or some shit?

        Reply
      3. Austin H. Williams

        I don’t know if it’s explicitly stated, but it seems heavily implied that Auri had some sort of a mishap at the university to make her t̶w̶e̶e̶ mentally ill or whatever. Auri’s case parallels what happened to Elodin.

        Reply
  7. Reveen

    Actually Auri’s behaviour makes a lot more sense if we assume that she goes around stuffing random mushrooms out of the ground into her mouth all the time.

    Or… not since she comes off more like a kid pretending to be high.

    And I hope that’s just a bigass dog. Not just because it’s not more of Auri being infantilized by being made as short as possible (AKA the Murphy Shuffle), but because that would just be awesome on it’s own.

    Reply
    1. Emily

      “Actually Auri’s behaviour makes a lot more sense if we assume that she goes around stuffing random mushrooms out of the ground into her mouth all the time.”

      LMAO. I like this explanation. I am ignoring the rest of your post that raises very valid and reasonable objections to this.

      Reply
  8. Signatus

    I’m reading some Ken Follet brick. Even with all Ken Follet makes me churn whenever he talks about history (his research must have been donde in Wikipedia because he fails to mention the Spanish Civil War was started by Sanjurjo, NOT Franco, Sanjurjo was the head of the movement), it’s a thousand times better than THIS. What is this thing? The more I read, the more surprised I am at how pointless it is. Like you said, this is not experimenting with language, this is bullshit. I know we’re supposed to be in the head of a deranged person, but gosh… that Simpson episode where Lisa meets a girl and they start writing a book together about an imaginary world named Equallia or something like that, it shows you can get into the mind of a crazy person and STILL tell an interesting story.

    I know I shouldn’t be surprised as most of Rothfuss bricks is nothing happening at all, but even the tedious; “it’s raining, we’re sulky, it’s raining and we’re sulky” hundred or so pages in WMF was more interesting than this. I don’t care! I don’t friggin care about the patient gear, or the mean stair that won’t tell its name, or the butter full of knives. I DON’T CARE. Tell a friggin story already!

    And yeah, she’s either really tiny, or that dog isn’t a dog, it’s a pony. The tallest dog I’ve ever seen, a great dane, was no taller than my waist, and I’m not exactly a tall person. The average size for a big dog is somewhere between 70 and 90 cm to the cross (shoulder area), and that’s a pretty big dog (I know, I have one who is that tall), but nowhere near what is described in the book.
    And no, Rothfuss, I don’t care if it’s her POV. I’m not sure anyone can be that delusional unless they have one of this very odd mental diseases that makes them see things larger or smaller than they are, or further, or even upside down. There has been no proof whatsoever that Auri has perception problems, so I’m not buying it.

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 3 | Doing In The Wizard

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