Gene Wolfe’s An Evil Guest

I’ll review this properly when I’m done. Honest. But for the moment, I’ve never enjoyed reading a Wolfe novel more than this one.  I’m half way through, and it could go off the rails, but I don’t think it will.  So far it’s riveting. I’m just drawn back to it again and again, no matter what else is around.  Just magnetic.  It’s noir, and it’s smart and funny. Haven’t really got to the Lovecraft stuff, but I guess that’s in the second half.  But from here, I’ve no hesitation in saying you NEED to read this one.  Doesn’t matter if you like Wolfe’s other stuff or not. This is terrific.

4 thoughts on “Gene Wolfe’s An Evil Guest”

  1. I’d be interested in whether you ever get to “the Lovecraft stuff,” since the title makes me wonder if it isn’t an homage to Sheridan Le Fanu (who wrote a little thing called “The Evil Guest”), and Le Fanu is gothic (and psychological) as all get out, but a distinctly different root of the dark fantasy tree than Lovecraft. I’ve been wondering about this ever since I saw the title!

  2. I’ve definitely got to the Lovecraft stuff. I’m in the last 100 pages, and there’s a squid god and all. Now, it wouldn’t surprise me of the title was a nod to Le Fanu (I’d be very interested to hear your take on the book), but the Lovecraft stuff is definitely there.

  3. Thank you for satisfying my curiousity, Jonathan. I have several months to wait before publication date, but I’d be happy to share my reaction then. Your recommendations are always sound. (The title could just be happenstance. Le Fanu has slipped out of current awareness, I think, but Wolfe is such an erudite writer.)

  4. Well, I’ve read it now, and I think there’s a bit of Sheridan le Fanu in the mashup, although the atmospherics in the first third reminded me more of Nathaniel Hawthorne in some ways, the dialog of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason novels almost as much as of Dashiell Hammett, and then, of course, there’s the tip of the hat to George du Maurier’s Trilby, and HPL, and a little of PK Dick. A mashup that complex and thorough winds up, in the end, as entirely and solely Gene Wolfe. Wow.

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