The AUTHOR’S FOREWORD and the AUTHOR’S ENDNOTE are effectively the frame story for The Slow Regard of Silent Things. They tell the reader that the book they’re holding almost stayed hidden in the dark, unknown. Remind you of anyone?
Rothfuss stories are round. Not all of them are rings, but there’s a strong tendency toward tying the ending directly to the beginning. “The Lightning Tree” begins with a message from Rike Williams and ends on an anecdote about Nettie Williams. “How Old Holly Came to Be” begins and ends with Old Holly. The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear are twice framed. The Prologues and Epilogues bracket the frame story which in turn encompasses the narrative.
So, while neither the foreword or endnote are necessary, they are functional. They also give Pat the opportunity to let his readers know that he’s aware of the story’s idiosyncrasies. It’s not the first time he’s included an apology. Check out his introduction to “How Old Holly Came to Be” (OH) in Unfettered.
The story itself is a little odd. It’s from an odd perspective, and it covers a vast scope of time. The main character is odd. The language is odd. (OH)
Compare that to this statement from The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
Second, even if you have read my other books, I think it’s only fair to warn you that this is a bit of a strange story. I don’t go in for spoilers, but suffice to say that this one is . . . different. It doesn’t do a lot of the things a classic story is supposed to do. (TSRoST)
Despite the colorful anecdote his editor obviously didn’t throw a fit. She let him format the foreword differently than the chapters, something they also did with the Prologues. And with the book spending its first week at #2 on the Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers List, she had no reason to.
In some ways, this is as much an enticement to fans as it is a warning to potential new readers.
If you love words and mysteries and secrets. If you’re curious about the Underthing and alchemy. If you want to know more about the hidden turnings of my world. . . .
Yah, we’re in. We’ve been talking and in some cases asking you directly about that for years, now.
I can’t decide if the illustration that follows is properly part of the AUTHOR’S FOREWORD or the first chapter, so I’m going to include it here. This is the first canonical image of Auri, though it’s quite similar to Nate’s previous depictions. She’s looking up through a drainage grate in what might be Old Ironways or Umbrel or nowhere at all,
We’ll start the story proper with the next post and cover “The Far Below Bottom of Things.”