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Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2019
Two caveats: First, I have read _The Book of the New Sun_ (tBotNS) several times. Second, I am mildly acquainted with Mr. Andre-Driussi, but I don't think that will affect my review tremendously.
Michael Andre-Driussi is the author of several previous books on Wolfe, and in particular of the _Lexicon Urthus_, a fundamental secondary text in Lupine studies. That book explicates most of the obscure words and names of tBotNS, as well as providing information geographical, thematic, interpretive (limited), and so on.
_This_ book is more limited in its ambitions. It is intended as a companion for a (first time?) reader of tBotNS who finds it challenging even to figure out, in places, what exactly is happening in the text. Andre-Driussi summarizes each chapter in a paragraph or three - carefully avoiding major spoilers in case the reader consults this book first - and provides some commentary on most of them, including topics like echoes from other points in the text, references (some a little iffy to my mind) to the work of other writers (Proust features heavily!), animal and floral references, including the "language of flowers", and - my favorite - evidence that either (a) the protagonist's memory isn't as perfect as he says it is, (b) the protagonist lies, or (c) ... something else.
It does the same things, also, for the sequel (_The Urth of the New Sun_) and for several short stories Wolfe wrote which are also set on Urth.
It does marvelously what it sets out to do. I would recommend it highly to anyone who struggles with tBotNS, which can be a rather puzzling book in places, and to anyone who wants some idea of what all the fuss is all about but isn't sure whether he or she wants to actually read it.
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2019
With a growing number of communities and resources available for decoding Gene Wolfe's novels, did we really need another guide to the Book of the New Sun? YES!
I haven't encountered much here that wasn't covered on Alzabo Soup or on r/genewolfe, but it's SOOoo nice to have it all systematically organized and provided in shorthand form. This book doesn't compete with Alzabo as entertainment and fun theories, but it does comprehensively outline the plot synopsis, symbolism, mythological references, literary influences, mysteries, etc. And it's refreshing to cover the scope of an entire book in one hour, rather than the scope of a single chapter as you would in a podcast.
My only complaint is the author's stated intention of not providing spoilers. Not only is that impossible as spoilers couldn't be avoided, but that's exactly why fans purchase books like these. Fortunately, he does spoil everything enough to provide value for the purchase. (Heck, in chapter 3 he reveals the true nature of the Matachin Tower).
I would love to see the same treatment for Long Sun, Short Sun, Wizard Knight, Soldier of the Mist, etc. Great work!