A Story Filled With Stories

Have I mentioned that I’ve been really enjoying Gene Wolfe’s Book of The New Sun? It’s one of the better genre stories around. Here’s Gene Wolfe, or Severian the once-torturer and future king, on stories:

I confess that I love them. Indeed, it often seems to me that of all the good things in the world, the only ones humanity can claim for itself are stories and music; the rest, mercy, beauty, sleep, clean water and hot food are all the work of the Increate. Thus, stories are small things indeed in the scheme of the universe, but it is hard not to love best what is our own – hard for me at least.

Wolfe, loves stories too. Severian carries a storybook with him, a sort of anthology of world fable, which we hear from time to time. There are buildings that tell stories, interruptions in the action for satirical stage-plays, and story-telling contests. The plot itself is told as a story, as a memoir to be left in the capital’s archival library. This story is filled with stories.

Earlier, at the very beginning of the Severian’s story, Wolfe suggests that we fill our lives up with symbols that collect meaning whether we’re aware of it or not. In a spontaneous attempt at connection with the author and his tale I took part in this act. I started marking my place in the book with a playing card, the King of Clubs. It’s served as a reminder for me on my thoughts about the novel as I read it. It may only be a random thing, or hold only a tenuous, whimsical meaning – or it may be a small act of story-ing, an attempt at recognizing something higher around us.

It’s probably just a card I found on the office floor that keeps me from dog-earing pages, isn’t it?

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