My rating: 5 of 5 stars
On the book itself, I doubt I will be able to say more than others have (certainly I won’t say it any better). There are reams of deconstructive groups, books, essays, etc.
What I will say is this – Gene Wolfe is everything that modern readers are being taught to hate – subtle, thoughtful, introspective, unusual. He breaks all the rules because most of the rules probably don’t matter; you really can do what you like as long as you do it well, in writing.
Increasingly the writing advice I see being given to authors and editors alike is to basically write/edit everything in super active phrasing at the expense of actual prose, and to create a series of hooks with an incoherent plot (ie Frozen, Tomb Raider in films; Name of the Wind in Patrick Rothfuss) because this sells better despite a total lack of payoff. But hey, who cares, because you sold a million copies and you’re the next Dan fucking Brown or 50 Shades of Shite.
I respect Gene Wolfe for not treating his readers like they’re incurably stupid, and being self-assured enough to not worry that at times he provokes a bit of a marmite reaction. To the book itself – I loved it, even if I’m not clever enough to get every reference, or to follow every argument.