Monday, November 18, 2013

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 11/16

I review books on the Internet, so people try to send me books. Some of them already have my address, so they just do send them.

Some of those weeks, I get a bunch of books that I may or may not be interested in. Some weeks, there's nothing at all. And some weeks, there's just one perfect book. This is one of the last kind.

This week, the only thing that made it all the way to me is Gene Wolfe's new novel The Land Across, a Tor hardcover that hits stores on November 26th. Wolfe is of course a SFWA Grand Master, of course the author of the phenomenally tricky, intricate, and wonderful "Book of the New Sun" series (and the related, even trickier and perhaps as wonderful sequel serieses about the Long and Short Suns), and of course one of the treasure of American and world literature. He's been writing books for forty years now, nearly all of them worth reading more than once, which is a amazing thing.

(I've reviewed here several of Wolfe's recent novels: Pirate Freedom, An Evil Guest, and The Sorcerer's House.)

This time out, Wolfe has written about a travel writer who journeys to a small, insular European country -- in typical Wolfean fashion, it appears that country remains unnamed -- where things are more unsettled and unsettling than he expected. The description -- full of bureaucracy, corruption, propaganda broadcasts, evil dictators, and femmes fatale -- makes it sound vaguely Cold War-ish, another throwback novel (as An Evil Guest was set in a future world very reminiscent of the 1930s), but Wolfe is dependably convoluted, so that's likely only the starting point.

Again, The Land Across will be available November 26th. It's the new novel by one of the great living writers of the world. You should take a look at it.

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