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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Free Live Free
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 10:45:10 

On Wed, 23 Sep 1998, David Wells wrote:

> 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.

While I agree that that the payoff at the end was not as satisfying as I'd
hoped (too abrupt: maybe I didn't understand everything, but I think Wolfe
has a tendency to wimp out by hinting at a happy ending instead of trying
to show us one--which is a lot harder to pull off), I enjoyed the book

I'm not usually a fan of humdrum, "realistic" characters, but somehow
Wolfe got me interested in these four. There are some good hooks in the
begining (What kind of story IS this?  Is she really a witch?) and I
thought the hijinks (there's no other word for it) in the middle of the
book were fun. 

Somehow, the tone of the book reminds me a lot of _There Are Doors_.  Do
you it's just that they both have a contemporary setting?

> -	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 ;-).

Ha!  I think you're joking, but it's a good joke.  Wolfe is an engineer,
after all.  Are you refering to anything besides the effects of Free's
device?  Tell us more with spoiler warnings!


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

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