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▶  More from Fiction Before the Rising Sun
‘The Language of Sorrow ‘
Impressions of Chapter 24 of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer
Reading from pages 147-152 of Shadow & Claw
The Flower of Dissolution
“…The flower with its swirling pattern held my gaze whenever I glanced down to tear off a leaf, and with the dry lust of death sought to draw me to it.”
The avern is a curious, geometrical flower from an alien galaxy, which preys upon even its handler and its use represents the most rarified form of esoteric dueling. Dorcas is revealed as inspired by the good woman in Acts, who was revived after Paul’s revelation on the Road to Damascus and serves as a truly splendid character, noting that when the world is horrible only then do people attain to nobility and goodness and when the world is good that people tend to become evil.
“By the use of the language of sorrow I had for the time being obliterated my sorrow—so powerful is the charm of words, which for us reduces to manageable entities all the passions that would otherwise madden and destroy us.”
Severian finds himself in a morbid dueling rite, discovering that he is more and less than he believed and that otherworldly things do thirst for our demise.
Diction of note
-gonfalon
Poet: The Enlightened Fate of Akbar Qama
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