The Two Mikes

The Two Mikes
Ever wanted to talk with someone about a book you just read? You could just join a book group and talk about it, drink a little, veer off on tangents, work back around to the book again, and finally wrap it up by picking the next book.

But what happens when the book you just read is about about hungry zombies or a haunted house, and your Eat, Pray, Love–reading friends aren’t really into reading it, much less discussing its finer points? That’s what we’re here for. We Two Mikes will be your virtual book group for discussing new and interesting and old and half-forgotten horror books.

If you want to follow along with us, look at the next forbidden book on the table and start reading.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Episode 99: Gene Wolfe's Peace

The Mikes at last turn to a book that's been sitting on the pile for almost seven years. Now, in our ninety-ninth episode, we finally read it. Twice. We find a lovely, subtle, and ultimately creepy tale of small-town life, and we suspect the main story exists in what is not written in the book.

It's Libation Time!

No Rest for the Wicked

In a Tom Collins glass filled with ice cubes mix:

2 oz. rye whisky
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. strong Earl Grey tea (cold)

Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy, while thinking about what you have done. You know what I'm talking about.

closing music: Ghosts of My Lonely Past" by Johnny Sikes with The Harmony Ranch Hands 


James said...

Why do you need to know when Den's parents were gone? I don't know if it matters. Lackey and Andre-Druissi's timelines says Den was born in 1914 and left 1920. But some dates definitely matter. Around 1959 (according to the Lackey-A.D. timeline), a middle aged Den goes treasure-hunting with Lois, he is not wealthy. He is an engineer at the Orange drink factory living alone in a small apartment. Yet a few years later, he runs the whole company. How? From the treasure he and Lois found? They didn't find treasure. The map was fake. They thought they found treasure and Lois pulled a gun to kill him for it. But what happened was that Lois "disappeared" and Weer had that gun in his possession. So how did Weer get rich?

Answer: After Weer killed and buried Lois, after he realized the map was fake, he remembered that stone under the porch of his childhood friend who had lived near the river. The one with a "ghost" under it the howled. He remembered the coins he found near the river. And he realized that under that stone was a cave. He found that treasure, and that was why he was rich.

Why do you want to work so hard for a novel? I once explained it this way:

"Agatha Christie wrote a famous novel called Murder on the Orient Express. There is one corpse and twelve suspects all with motives and opportunities. There is also a detective to sort it all out, even though he ultimately doesn’t settle on a final solution. If Wolfe had written that novel, there would be no Hercule Poirot to divine clues from triviality. The reader would play the role of the detective. And the characters would seem strangely unfocused on the murder altogether. There would be an on-going debate among readers about whether there was a murder to begin with. And the story would unfold from the point-of-view of a red cap who was hopelessly smitten by a waitress in the dining car." said...

Wonderful, James! It's been 7 years we've been doing this podcast and for the first time I'm sure someone has READ THE BOOK!

Thanks so much for offering this. I will watch for these bits when I undertake my third reading. You're analogy to Poirot-less Agatha Christie is apt. I wonder if Wolfe's more recent fictions try the same feat (I'm thinking Home Fires or Evil Guest or The Land Across).

Thanks for listening and commenting, James.

Mike S.

James said...

Home Fires? No. I don't *think* so. But that's what I thought on my first reading of "An Evil Guest" and then people starting point out all the weird and unresolved story points that had slipped by me. "The Sorcerer's House" definitely has that flare as it consists entirely of letters with unreliable narrators and a protagonist who is a confessed liar. Wolfe *says* he has done less of this type of writing because so many people complained about it. The accused him of playing at a "gimick".

Emphyrio said...

I've read a number of your books and tried to read several more. How you guys made it through The Drowning Girl I'll never know.

On the eve of 100, I know fear in my heart. You guys once discussed ending it all then. I sure hope not.