Peace by Gene Wolfe

Peace by Gene Wolfe is a perverse fictional fictional memoir written from the point of view of a maybe senile maybe stroke victim named Alden Dennis Weer. Definitely an untrustworthy narrator. This book is really fucking disturbing. At no point are you sure where or when the actual narrator exists. Since it is a memoir, it is very possible that the entire book takes place during the aforementioned stroke as a sort of extended life-​flashing-​before-​the-​eyes montage. But there are hints that the memoir even continues after the death of the narrator. Basically the only things approximating substance that we ever get are hints. There are hints that Mr. Weer is a seriously evil man, a sociopathic mass-​murderer, and more hints of rape and child molestation [Mr. Weer being the one molested, although he does pork a 16 year old who offers herself as a sort of bribe to him] as well. The upshot of the novel is that you really don’t ever know what the fuck is going on, apart from the fact that you know something is going on that Mr. Weer doesn’t want to talk about.

Apart from that the book is also filled with nostalgia and regret; taking place in the early 20th Centurty Midwest and going from kerosene to television. A regret for the loss of innocence that is likely mirrored in Weer’s own disturbing life. There are constant references to death, isolation, abnormality. It reads like a book an outsider artist might write, which is testament to the skill of Mr. Wolfe, since Weer who is writing the book is an outsider in his own hometown. It’s no wonder that this book is apparently one of Neil Gaiman’s favorites. I definitely recommend reading it. I’d appreciate having someone to talk to about it.

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