October 4, 2003

There Are Doors

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Just before heading to Moscow last week, I finished rereading Gene Wolfe‘s There Are Doors. Doors was the first Wolfe I read, a couple years ago, and now I’ve returned to it after reading several of Wolfe’s other books.

My first time through Doors left me (pleasantly) bewildered; on this read, I caught much more of what was happening. As well, on the first read, the ending left me a bit disappointed; this time through, it was much more satisfying.

Doors is quite different from Wolfe’s other books, though, like them, it’s full of mysteries and allusions. It’s a love story of sorts, though that label doesn’t come close to capturing what Wolfe is doing. It’s also a sort of “alternate universe” science fiction, though, as Orson Scott Card says, one “that has as many echoes of Pasternak as of Asimov” (truth be told, I don’t think that there are any echoes of Asimov in Doors). On this read, I also think I spotted some traces of Dante which I’d like to tease out someday. Before I read it a third time (and I plan to), I’ll also have to read Kafka’s “The Castle,” another book Wolfe is drawing on here.

All the way through Doors, I felt a bit wistful, but I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s no wonder this book is one of Wolfe’s own favourites.

Posted by John Barach @ 11:23 am | Discuss (0)

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