The Sorcerer’s House

The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe

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This unusual fantasy novel is about Baxter Dunn, a recently released convict who suddenly learns he has inherited a huge, mysterious house. Most of the book’s action concerns explorations of the house and its surrounding woods, and revelations leading from what is found there. Some of the discoveries do seem truly imaginative, and I liked the ending. The novel is epistolary, told in letters from Bax to various other characters, stretching the limits of that form to its brink.

My favorite thing about the book was Bax’s voice. He seemed like such a magnificent bastard, gloating in his letters over his triumphs, while pretending to apologize for it, seducing his brother’s wife by letter. I just didn’t like when he came off as a womanizer bragging about his conquests. The mysteries were confusing and fragmented, owing partly to the letter format, and partly to the preponderance of twins in the cast of characters. For these reasons I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I expected to.

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