The Book of the New Sun Vol 2 - The Claw of the Conciliator
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Lola, I too found the necrophagia fascinating an a creepy way. I don't really understand why Vodalus and his gang engage in it; I see no evidence that anyone else experiences the same sort of resulting communion (pun intended) that Severian does.
The leap from the end of The Shadow of the Torturer to the beginning of The Claw of the Conciliator is a lso a little disconcerting... The first book ends with the characters travelling through the Wall about Nessus - which actually sounds quite interesting. But Wolfe makes nothing of it. And Lexicon Urthus doesn't help much either.
One critic likened The Time-Traveller's exploration of the Morlock's underworld to Christ's harrowing of Hell. So Wolfe may have been using this scene in a similar way but with some distinct differences. The Time-Traveller strikes a match and is confronted with horror and feels that the Morlocks are no more than beasts. When Severian produces his 'light' (the Claw) he sees the humanity in the man-apes, sees them for what they are (devolved humans or potential devolved humans). It simultaneously gives a feeling to Severian which indicates that this is a potential future for mankind (stated in the text) and also a feeling of contentment to the man-apes (the contentment of the happy apes that Severian muses over).
Severian wielding the Claw and pacifying the man-apes also brings to mind a cross being used to repel vampires.
Something about the mine doesn't seem to fit. Like, for example, the fact that it's caleld a "mine", yet its entrance is a cave halfway up a cliff above a pool...
Which reminds me... Severian remarks that Agia made several mistakes in the note she wrote pretending to be Thecla... Obviously, the reference to Severian and Thecla having sex is one, and perhaps Thecla's repeated visits to, and by, Master Gurloes is another... Were there more?
It's getting difficult to work out what you're supposed to decode, and what you're not...
how funny, Ian, I just commented on the passage from #1 to #2 in another thread.
I like the fairy-taleish interjections, it's nice to have some respite from Severian's lacklustre mentality.
The most mysterious part so far has been Dr. Talos's play (I think it's in #2?)
Now, for that I KNOW I'm too lazy to mull it over (or reread, frankly). Someone just tell me what's it about...
Have been getting through the second book, and it is okay, but the stories feel like Wolfe seriously stalled the novel. The first one, about the Corn Maidens, seemed to have no relevance except to show that Jonas once lived in a completely different era to Severian. It wasn't a bad read, but seemed like Wolfe had to increase the amount of pages in his book, and decided a twenty page fairy tale would help do that. The play, though... ohh... Firstly, I hate reading plays in written form, even if they are in English, because all of the information that we receive from actions and props and gestures are lost. That's not enough for me to whine about it, though, but the language and phrasing used in the play is a horror to read, and we get no context regarding the play's story. And it makes no sense.
I found quite a few parts to be quite interesting, such as the ideas behind the green man, Jolenta, and a few other ideas that I won't spoil if someone else decides to go through the book, but didn't think that it was as good as the first book - the sudden change of location and characters with Severian was not easy to overcome, there were fewer SF elements disguised as fantasy, and I've complained about the play and the story already, and said all that I wanted to, there.
Will be onto the third volume soon.