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From: David Wells <ADW@ovum.com>
Subject: (urth) Free Live Free
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 11:06:48 +0100

CRCulver@aol.com <mailto:CRCulver@aol.com>  wrote:
> For some reason, there has been not a single post over the last week. So,
> get some more activity, I'll ask for a review of the Wolfe book FREE LIVE
> FREE. Is it worth buying? What style is it? I'd also like to know the
> plot, as long as it doesn't spoil too much.

I too found it very hard going indeed. It seemed to me like a writing
exercise which had gotten out of hand to the tune of 500 pages or so (it
seemed that long, anyway). Somewhere in Book of Days, Wolfe suggests that
even a short story should have more than one idea, and that novels should
have many. Free Live Free seemed to me to be too much of a one-trick-pony.

In terms of style/plot (and trying not to spoil too much)
-	there is a Good Reason why Wolfe spends so much time in the first
few hundred pages describing the rather sad and humdrum lives of some
not-terribly appealing characters. The big question is whether having
struggled through this, you think the payoff is worth it. As is probably
apparent, I didn't.
-	The whole book (and I don't think this is really a spoiler unless
you've read it!) is essentially an allegory about the properties of
composite materials. Yes, I do think this a weird thing to write a novel
about ;-).


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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