Within a few pages, I knew I wanted to read everything Mr. Wolfe has ever written. I also knew it would be this way – twenty years ago, I had read The Shadow of the Torturer, back in Clarksville, Tennessee’s precious, tiny little library tucked between the abandoned brick buildings. His stories are beautiful, sad, and rife with secrets that he never feels the need to reveal. The writing style felt similar to John Crowley.
This book is composed of three novellas that mildly overlap in content. First, a cloned child living in a brothel kills his father. Then, a cannibalistic aborigine kills his brother. Then, an anthropologist is imprisoned, suspected of murder. All of them live on a planet where it is suspected the original peoples are clever shapeshifters who have concealed themselves as humans. I loved the first tale, felt lukewarm toward the second, and liked the last half of the last, but together they are much greater than apart.
I am drawn to this world which exists with its secrets beyond what I am reading. A story should be its own world, above and beyond what we read, when we write, we should be peeling back the layers, revealing what is already there.