- "THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is a joyous offering of literary excellence and a heart-breaking delving of loss, loneliness and the mysteries that are Auri."
- ―Fantasy Book Review
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a novella and one of the companion tales in the The Kingkiller Chronicle series by American author Patrick Rothfuss. It includes illustrations by Nate Taylor. The book was first published on October 28, 2014 by DAW Books in the United States.
Deep below the University, there is a dark place. Few people know of it: a broken web of ancient passageways and abandoned rooms. A young woman lives there, tucked among the sprawling tunnels of the Underthing, snug in the heart of this forgotten place.
Her name is Auri, and she is full of mysteries.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a brief, bittersweet glimpse of Auri’s life, a small adventure all her own. At once joyous and haunting, this story offers a chance to see the world through Auri’s eyes. And it gives the reader a chance to learn things that only Auri knows….
In this book, Patrick Rothfuss brings us into the world of one of The Kingkiller Chronicle’s most enigmatic characters. Full of secrets and mysteries, The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the story of a broken girl trying to live in a broken world.
The story focuses on Auri and her life in The Underthing. It covers seven days during which she is waiting for a visit from Kvothe, a time period that is covered specifically between chapters four and eleven of The Wise Man's Fear.
Through the seven days narrated in the book, Auri explores the Underthing, change the placement of objects to put them in their proper places, make soap as her soap simply disappeared, looks for artifacts and objects that piqued her interest and show the reader her thoughts and feelings, her views on the world and on its workings. Apart from these things that are part of her day to day life, alone in the Underthing, the story also tells of how she thought about the three gifts that she gave to Kvothe at the end of that week, how she prepared a place for him to live in the Underthing, how she created the candle she gives him and of how she thought about the third gift.
Writing and structure
The writing occasionally slips into a poetic flow when describing the little things in Auri's day to day life. As Patrick Rothfuss himself says, the book does not do what a 'proper book should do', so that it actually doesn't have a very proper plot. The story can't really be divided into a beginning, middle and end, and doesn't have a proper climax. While in the Kingkiller Chronicle books there's a plot being developed, this novella basically describes the day to day life of the main protagonist, showing her view of the world and the way her mind works, as the book is narrated by Auri herself.
In general, the book does not care for a plot, being all about the main character, Auri, trying to convey the way her mind works and her feelings and views of the world of Temerant and Kvothe, while also giving the reader a demonstration of her powers and magic, which is exposed on the very end of the book, when she uses her magic to create the candle she gives Kvothe as one of her three gifts.
Background and publication
In 2012, George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, co-editors of a series of cross-genre anthologies, invited Patrick Rothfuss to be in their anthology called Rogues, which Rothfuss agreed to. He initially planned to contribute a story about Auri, whom he thought would make a nice counterpoint to some of the other classic rogue-type characters in the anthology.
However, after Rothfuss started writing the story, it exceeded the number of words for the anthology and the story went in a different direction from the rogue theme. He then decided to contribute a story about Bast instead, which ended up being the novella The Lightning Tree and was eventually published in Rogues in June 2014.
Afterwards, Rothfuss resumed his work on the third book of the trilogy, The Doors of Stone, but the half-unfinished story about Auri tickled him and eventually he went back to finish it. When he put the finishing touches on the story in February 2013, he came up with the working title The Weight of Her Desire, a phrase that appears in the first and last chapters of the book. Encouraged by feedback from his friend and mathemusician Vi Hart, he presented the story to his agent and then his editor, who were enthusiastic about it.
Rothfuss introduced the story to his friend and illustrator Nate Taylor and asked him to create illustrations for the book. Rothfuss was specific about having no explicit pictures of Auri or any of the rooms in the Underthing. It took about two months to finalize the illustrations. The story was eventually published as the standalone novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things in November 2014.
The book debuted at number two position in the New York Times Best Seller Hardcover Fiction list approximately three weeks after its release. It spent a month on the list before falling out of the top 15.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things received positive reviews from critics. Marc Alpin of Fantasy Faction was impressed by the writing of Rothfuss, stating "The number of beautiful metaphors, the authenticity of Auri's voice and the emotions that the story evokes are as strong as we'd expect". Alister Davison of Starbust Magazine writes: "It is wonderfully written, the prose verging on poetic in places... There's a sense that Rothfuss has chosen every one of those words with great care and precision, using them to tell a story that's lyrical, heart-felt and unique."
- Penguin Books USA. The Slow Regard of Silent Things
- Patrick Rothfuss Blog. The News: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (April 25, 2014)
- Patrick Rothfuss Blog. Storm (February 4, 2013)
- Suvudu. Interview Nate Taylor Arts SILENT THINGS (November 10, 2014)
- The New York Times. Best Sellers (November 16, 2014)
- The New York Times. Inside the list (December 14, 2014)
- Fantasy Faction. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss – Extensive Review (October 30, 2014)
- Starbust Magazine. THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS (November 5, 2014)
|Works in the The Kingkiller Chronicle series|
|Novels||The Name of the Wind (2007) ▪ The Wise Man's Fear (2011) ▪ The Doors of Stone (to be released)|
|Companion tales||How Old Holly Came to Be in Unfettered (2013) ▪ The Lightning Tree in Rogues (2014) ▪ The Slow Regard of Silent Things (2014) ▪ The Tale of Laniel Young-Again (to be released)|
|Derived works||Cealdish Currency (2013) ▪ The Name of the Wind Playing Cards (2014) ▪ Pairs (2014) ▪ TV Series, Movie and Video Game (optioned)|