he little hair cutter I go to told me about this one. She’s a fan of both The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man’s Fears, and got me to read them both. So when I heard there was a short story about Auri, a weird little tale that makes no sense to anyone who hasn’t read the story, of course I had to read it.
The deal is, this is how everyone knows this little book. It’s not like any story you’ve read before. It lacks a climax, characters (outside of the main one) and even dialog. The author goes on at length about how nobody would like it or understand it. In fact, the story about what an un-story this is makes up, in part, for the lack of story inside the tale itself. Like I said, it’s a weird little thing.
The reason it works is because it’s about Auri. In the two novels mentioned above, she’s the strange little girl who lives below the university, in the tunnels and forgotten places. Her history isn’t stated, not in words, but one gets the idea that the university cracked her, that she became fey and ventured into the Underthing, to live and drift and dream.
I always liked her – she was a character with loads of unstated backstory – the reader could figure it out for themselves. And the story is pure Auri – just as her own thinking is alien and drifty, so is the story. We never are told why she does things; we silently watch as her compulsions manifest – her desire to place everything in a perfect spot, her personifications of objects, her excessive washing of face, hands and feet. One can almost list out the litany of mental issues she has. But it doesn’t matter – for her, it works. She drifts through the silent passages, exploring, naming, correcting, making her little world better than before.
And like everyone says, the story works.
But word of warning – if you’ve gotten this far and not taken my advice on reading Name and Wise, you’d better at least read the first one. Then you’ll know about the university, the characters, the backstory, and who he might be. Otherwise, this confusing tale will become utterly so. But I liked it. Yeah, it works.