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The Sorcerer's House Paperback – 15 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Trade; Reprint edition (15 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765324598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765324597
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 857,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is the author of two dozen novels and hundreds of shorter stories. He is best known for the three multi-part series The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun, as well as for the acclaimed duology, The Wizard Knight. Over his forty-year career, he has won the Nebula Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the World Fantasy Award, the British Science Fiction Award, the Locus Reader's Poll, the Rhysling (for poetry), and many others. In 1996, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Fantasy Convention, and in 2007 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois, with his wife Rosemary.

Product Description

Review

"A complex, spellbinding web of otherworldly sorcery and hauntings. Both terrifying and touching, this book of wonders speaks eloquently about the nature of responsibility and family." (Publishers Weekly)"

About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 3 Sept. 2010
Format: Hardcover
Baxter Dunn, a scholarly man with a chequered past, is penniless and just out of prison. In search of a place to stay, he happens on an untenanted and slightly dilapidated old house in the town of Medicine Man, and, rather than just breaking into it and squatting, he decides to offer to repair and look after it in exchange for being allowed to live there rent-free. But when he tracks down the managing agents, he's in for a surprise: the house is his, and has only been waiting for him to come along and claim it.

Told in a series of letters (mostly to Baxter's identical twin brother, who has good reason to hate him), Dunn's story becomes increasingly fantastic, as he delves into the mystery of the Mr Black who once owned the locally-infamous "Sorcerer's House", and as he explores the labyrinthine house itself (which "grows when people live in it, and shrinks when they don't"), meets the good/bad twins Emlyn and Ieuan who seem to belong to another century, acquires a butler (or two), and a footman (who is also a dog), as well as a pet/lover in the form of a facefox -- a creature that is the reverse of a werefox, being a fox that can take human form, rather than the other way round. There is also a vampire and several werewolves. The house's windows, sometimes, overlook a vast forest with a distant, gleaming tower. It's one of those house-on-the-borderland "vasty houses" one finds so often in the literature of the fantastic -- not to mention dreams.

Wolfe has a reputation for being a writer whose stories have hidden depths, which often require a second reading to get the most from them, but this could just be down to the fact that he likes playing with significances.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jan Czajkowski on 20 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Sorcerer's House is an entertaining and fun story about a house that is situated both in our world and in another world full of magic and terrifying beings. The main character, Bax, is an academic just released from prison. For mysterious reasons he very soon finds himself to be the unexpected owner of the Black House, a building known by the locals to be haunted. The whole novel consists of letters from Bax, most of them addressed to his hostile twin brother George, and also some letters written from other people to Bax.

Gene Wolfe is my favorite author, and he is widely appreciated for his high literary standards. In my opinion, this is a very good book, but still not one of Wolfe's best ones. I get the impression that it is written in a kind of laidback style, something the author enjoyed writing but did not put too much effort into. It is an easy read with a lot more dialog than in most of Wolfe's books, and perhaps for that reason I feel that is not going to last so long in my memory as some other of his books. But in spite of that, don't miss it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bruce TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a classic Gene Wolfe novel and has all the elements that he has returned to, on many occasions. The classic unreliable narrator, fantastical creatures and a feeling of being "out of time" or from another, earlier age.

This would be quite a scary story and there are points where it ventures into deeply unsettling psychological horror territory. But we are separated from this by the narrative device of this being presented as a series of letters, written mostly by the main character - Bax/ Baxter. His profound unconcern for whatever happens - his phlegmatic nature, you might say - mean that we can't at first be scared. But there are times when the story runs away with him into the immediate present and this doesn't feel like a letter at all and we are there with the characters.

While it's clear that Bax is unreliable and he tells us so, all the time; there is also a feeling that Gene Wolfe is not telling us the truth and that he is just cloaking this story in artifice. He knows more than he is letting us in on - just hinting at the world that lies on the other side of the house and draws Bax in.

This book does have werewolves, vampires and magicians - but it is unlike any other work of "genre" fiction that deals with this kind of thing. Wolfe is literary, old-fashioned and considered. He is more interested in the art of writing than anything else and how all of this is just words on a page - who knows what actually happened? We only get clues of what the writers want to tell us and it's often the minutiae which concern them and not the weird situation(s) in which they find themselves.
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