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‘Death and the Lady’
Alternative Impressions of Chapter 21 of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer


Reading from pages 130-135 of Shadow & Claw

I LOST THIS FILE AND HAD TO SCRAP TOGETHER A CHAPTER REVIEW FROM MEMORY FOR THE LAST POST AND HAVE JUST REDISCOVERED THIS FILE.

The Hut in the Jungle

Severian and his lovely guide take a detour to a hit in the jungle room, where a living history scene plays out before them. A woman who does not see them, reads the Old Testament to a savage fisherman, mentioning that her order is back in Paris. Her husband, however, is terrified of Severian, whom he and the savage can see but the missionary wife cannot. The scene is absurd on one level and faithfully depicted on another, leaving the reader to wonder if these are artificially intelligent avatars who include the visitors in their living history act or if the jungle room is a portal breaching the gulfs of Time.

Even in the persons of possible fictions, the author places large truths spoken small:

“If I am ill, Marie, then the diseased know things the well have overlooked. Isangoma knows they are here too, don’t forget. Didn’t you feel the floor tremble when you were reading to him?”

As the Christian missionary fails to see behind the temporal curtain, her malarial husband and a savage shaman see a deeper reality and the savage begins an incantation.

Predicting the utter boredom this scene will strike in the minds of female readers, the author acquiesces by way of having the female guide leave the hut in disgust.

Diction of note

-gowdalie, a fishing spear

-oredont

-tokoloshe, bad spirits

The World is Our Widow

https://www.amazon.com/World-Our-Widow-Sunset-Cities/dp/1534631887/ref=sr_1_114?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1511041400&sr=1-114&refinements=p_27%3AJames+LaFond

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