Originally Posted by keg in kc
They're not easy reads either. Deep books.
No kidding. Wolfe writes for the re-reader. I've been through them a few times and am still puzzling out the "real" story. I got a pretty good grip on it the first time, but it's like archeology.
I've read most of his works. He seems to love to tell you 2/3 or so of a story, and leaves the rest of the story as an exercise for the student.
Ever read his 5th Head of Cerberus? It's basically a murder mystery, where he takes us through the whole investigation with the "detective". He gives the conclusion, but leaves it to you to figure out how the clues lead to that conclusion.
Try the sequel the Book of the Long Sun. His main character Patera Silk is even more intriguing than old Severian. The follow-on the Book of the Short Sun is possibly the most cryptic thing he ever wrote, but again, well worth the effort and a fantastic capstone to the series.
Next up, I'm going to try his "Latro" novels. I'm told they are about a Greek Soldier (400-500 BC or so) who has a peculiar amnesia. Every morning, he reads the scroll he added to the day before to learn who he is and what his life is about.
Wolfe has a serious fetish about memory.