The Slow Regard Of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is a companion novella to Rothfuss’ bestselling Kingkiller Chronicle. It follows Auri, a strange girl who lives under the University, who Kvothe, the protagonist of the Kingkiller Chronicle, meets during the first book of the series. If you haven’t read my reviews for the first two books in the series, The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, here and here. Auri’s story is a short one – it only took me a few hours to read – and is more of an insight into Auri’s life than anything else. As always, Rothfuss’ writing style is engaging and almost lyrical, and the way he writes Auri’s unique voice is particularly captivating.
It’s really enlightening to learn more about Auri’s character, and to see things from her perspective. We get to see her daily life in the Underthing and a glimpse into how she thinks, too. Personally I would have liked to have learned more about who she really is, where she’s from, and how she ended up living under the University; while we are given small hints about her past, it isn’t really enough for us to work out the answers to these questions. But perhaps that’s for the best: this way, Auri stays mysterious and enigmatic.
This story is a slow, quiet, strange one – and by Rothfuss’ own admission, too. In his author’s note at the end of the book, he expresses surprise that anyone even liked it enough to publish it. I’d say that it’s the voice and the writing style that make it: without it, there wouldn’t have been beauty to contradict the sadness, and this charming but bittersweet tale wouldn’t have worked at all.
However I also think that Rothfuss is right in saying that this is not a story for everyone; I can certainly see how some might not enjoy it. But I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is intrigued by Auri, and anyone who understands the desire to escape from the world and all its responsibilities.