Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015: The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One - Patrick Rothfuss

 The third book I finished this year was the first in Rothfuss’s series The Kingkiller Chronicles. I started it about the same time I started Longmire. I finished Longmire and started reading Sherman Alexie and both of those just hit their stride before The Name of the Wind. That said, it was absolutely worth the set up to get to the story that Rothfuss had to tell. The book itself is about unfolding the true story behind the legends of a man named Kvothe. The concept is pretty fun. A storyteller has encountered the one man who can actually set the story straight.

The voice switches between Kvothe telling his story and the interruption of daily life surrounding him. Once Kvothe begins telling the story, I would like to say that it takes off. But the truth is the early part of his story, like the early part of any of our stories is not enthralling. There are big important things that happen, but this part of the story was just setting up for the important things to come. Where Rothfuss excels here is having Kvothe reveal insight that comes upon reflection of his life. He can see where certain things prepared him for next stages. He can also see where he was wrong and the influence of relationships looking backward.

One of the difficult things for me as a reader was that Kvothe remembers so many details that there are a lot of names of people. In most of my past reading anyone with a name was worth remembering. That certainly is not the way of things here. It is hard to figure out who exactly is worth remembering and why. I found myself investing myself in characters that just disappeared. And although that is a bit annoying, I guess, reflecting on it…that is part of life. We invest our lives into people that simply go away.

I will say that from the outset I expected to enjoy the book, but held in my mind I might be disappointed. My brother-in-law Tom told me I needed to read the book. Others said it was really good. I tend to have a predisposition to be disappointed in things that others like. I think it is the side of me that wants to be snooty and pretentious. But the problem is Rothfuss is a good writer. My BIL and my friends were right. This is just a well done story. Once you figure out who to invest in the story, it starts to take shape a little more.

This particular book is probably my favorite of the new four books I have read this year. That said, I will probably finish some other books I have going and maybe read a quick Longmire book, before I finish and start the next book. I think I want time to just sit with it and be ready to let myself be immersed in the story when the time comes.

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