Patricia McKillip reading notes: The Book of Atrix Wolfe

I ran out of time to write this review last month, and I’ll be pausing the reading notes series for the rest of this month before picking it back up in September (probably with Dorothy Sayers).

This is, in fact, a five minute review, written before I’m off to work, because I have come to accept that this is the only way I’ll ever manage to talk about this book.

So! Atrix Wolfe! Unusual because it starts off with a prologue. Has some Cinderella echoes, at least some faint ones.

There are also some themes from other books that show up again: hidden natures are all over the place, plus books and spells waiting for the right time and person (like Nepenthe’s Alphabet of Thorn). Also the land being in danger and the quest for a lost child. Also the fact that in both cases the mother searching for the daughter finds her but loses the lover which I’m noting but am not sure what to do with.

And there are so many delicious descriptions of food in this book. I wanted to eat everything. The descriptions of the land are also sharp and lovely.

There’s a slantwise complexity to this one: Saro/Sorrow, Atrix’s spells that say one thing and mean another. But it’s also, between this and the language, a bit dense. I had a hard time concentrating on it, which could certainly be me, but I think was partly the book. So, while I truly did like it, it’s a bit more elusive in memory than the others I’ve just re-read.

However, I am glad I re-read it, if only because maybe I’ll make a McKillip-inspired feast at some point! (Seriously, the food!!)

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

3 replies on “Patricia McKillip reading notes: The Book of Atrix Wolfe”

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