Peace (*SPOILERS*)

Fried Egg

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What are people's thoughts on this book?

Whilst I found it a pleasure to read Wolfe's eloquant prose (as usual), I struggled to make much sense of it. It seemed that many of the stories within the main story gave clues and hints as to how best to interpret the book itself but I think far too often I was just taking things in at face value and failed to catch the significance of what he was alluding to. Definitely could do with at least one re-read.

So what is the truth about Mr. Weer? What really happened in his life and is he dead or dying?
 

GOLLUM

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HMM..you're putting me to shame a little Fried Egg and reminding me that I need to perform a reread of Gene's work, seeing as I have his entire oeuvre.

Peace was one of Gene's earlier works and one that brought him to the eye of critics as one to watch. I know I enjoyed the book when I did read it some while back and that I often recommend it as being amongst Gene's best books but I'm gong to have to perform a reread myself before I can properly do your question justice.

Cheers for now.
 

Fried Egg

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That's a shame because, I thought if there's one person who could help me, it was you!
 

Stephen Palmer

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I read this quite early in my GW-reading career, and can't remember much about it, except I do remember enjoying it and being baffled at the end.

Plus ca change. ;)
 

Kierkegaurdian

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Old thread, thought I would bring it back from the dead.

I absolutely loved Peace. I thought it was beautifully written and had fascinating characters. It was mysterious as well ... I am still trying to wrap my mind around it.

For the first half of the book, I thought Alden Weer was the last human alive on the planet. He kept referring to there being "no one else" around. Some theories I have read claim that Weer is a ghost, which is why he does not see / come into contact with other humans. I am not sure about this ... the fact that Weer can "travel" through time (as he does when he goes to consult the various doctors in his past concerning the symptoms of a stroke) makes me think he lives in a world for some reason devoid of other humans, yet he himself is alive. A ghost would not concern itself with the symptoms of a stroke, and typically don't travel back in time to seek advice from physicians.

Also, the house that Weer inhabits is an amalgamation of all the houses of his memory; they are merged into one, so he can walk down a hall from his factory office to the grand front room in Julius Smart's mansion. This is not a usual haunting, if Weer is indeed a ghost; the house is clearly some kind of creation of Weer's.

I think that Weer is alive, and the last human on earth, and somehow has the ability to shape his surroundings. He may be responsible for the deaths of everyone else. Or it is possible he is in some sort of hallucinating trance, a possibility hinted at when he talks about the fumes he would inhale while playing with his chemistry set as a child.

There are countless mysteries and hints scattered throughout the book. There are three suitors to the princess on the island in the story he reads, the same way his Aunt Olivia has three suitors. He, like Severian from The Book of the New Sun and Silk from The Book of the Long Sun, is lame in one leg. There is the obvious, yet easy to miss statement that Julius Smart is the most central character of the story. It goes on. I am definitely going to have to reread this book, but suffice to say for know that it is one of my favorite Wolfe novels!
 

T77

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Good to hear you liked it. I did not read most of your post as I have not read this yet. I'm waiting for it to be released on the Kindle and I want to finish the Sun series first. But, I am looking forward to this.
 

Kierkegaurdian

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Good to hear you liked it. I did not read most of your post as I have not read this yet. I'm waiting for it to be released on the Kindle and I want to finish the Sun series first. But, I am looking forward to this.
Well, it is one of Wolfe's shortest novels, only about 200 pages long. So it probably wouldn't cut into the Sun stuff too badly if you wanted to take a break! I highly recommend it.
 

T77

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Well, it is one of Wolfe's shortest novels, only about 200 pages long. So it probably wouldn't cut into the Sun stuff too badly if you wanted to take a break! I highly recommend it.
Ah, thanks for pointed that out. Maybe I will try to sneak it in.
 

picklematrix

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I was confused when reading this book, but i was a lot younger then. The overall atmosphere and prose made it enjoyable.
 

Elckerlyc

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Perhaps this thread should be revived, as Peace is a fascinating read. But, like many novels by Gene Wolfe, it's requires multiple rereads to get to the deeper levels. It's a puzzle. I have read it twice now, but more reads are in order. That however is not a punishment because his prose beats anything I have ever read (which maybe isn't saying much as English is not my first language and I can't claim to have read everything there is to read on a literary level). There are not many books I enjoy reading simply for it's prose.

Anyway, SPOILERS ahead, when I try to describe what the story is about imho:
Alden Dennis Weer is dead. He is a ghost, who is doomed to relive his past life over and over again, but can't find peace. He starts a tale about a particular memory but hardly ever finishes it. He's hiding something, possibly even to himself. There is more he is not telling us than what he actually does reveal. Multiple crimes, probably murders, as many characters seem to disappear in thin air. But he won't find peace unless he's prepared to look those crimes in the eye and confess.
I suppose all the clues are there, but to actually point out his crimes and the reasons why is not an easy task, I'm not sure anyone ever has. Only the deduction that Alden Dennis Weer in fact is dead, based on clues in the novel, seems pretty much certain. Read the very first sentence of the novel and scan the rest for additional clues. Also, Mr. Weer is of Dutch ancestry and 'weer' means 'again' or 'repeat'. Or 'weather', but that doesn't seem relevant here.;)
 
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