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From: Peter Cash <cash@rsn.hp.com>
Subject: (urth) Seven American Nights
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 15:05:50 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Finished Seven American Nights last night. I've decided that for Wolfe,
plot is a kind of opiate that he introduces into his stories to keep you
hooked until the end--when it turns out that the plot doesn't matter at
all. This story is a good instance: in the end, the possibility is
raised that the entire story is a fake, written by the investigator to
inveigle the boy's mother into giving him more money to carry on the
"investigation". Thus, the very foundation of the story is undermined.

But if the story is counterfeit, why did the investigator write such an
unpalatable one? Surely if his purpose was to extract money, he could
have written something a bit more up-beat, something that the mother
(and the lovely Jasmine) would _want_ to believe. 

The actress' deformity (sorry, the book is at home and I have no memory
for names) was pretty much a cliche'--you could see it coming. Still, it
was well-handled. (One wonders--what kind of deformity is so gross as to
cause our hero's drastic reaction, but cannot be discovered by touch
while the two were making love?)

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