The other day I was considering the options regarding my birthday present, and as an extremely obsessive bookworm-lady, that I proudly am, I decided to try to look for The Lightning Tree. You know, where I live it is kinda difficult to get your hands on books that have not been translated to my L1, which sucks sometimes, because it takes ages if you have to wait to get your hands on a translated version of one of your favorite author’s book…
This particular piece came out in 2014 and for some unpleasant reason I couldn’t get my hands on it until 2017 – I know, I wanted to cry when I got to read it at last. The Lightning tree by Patrick Rothfuss is a novella (58 astonishing pages) within a bigger work: Rogues, which is a series of novellas (we could also call them short stories, though s.s. tend to be shorter… but, meh) by various authors gathered into this one -FREAKING AWESOME- book edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. These short stories are anthologies, 21 to be more precise, and according to Martin – I haven’t finished them all, yet – there is a story for everyone’s liking.
I’m gonna start off saying that it took me only 4 hours to read the whole story, and I loved it. If you’re looking for an unbiased opinion about it, do not look further, because you won’t find it. I mean, come on, it’s Rothfuss we are talking here… I’ll only say one thing: If you haven’t read The Name of the Wind or The Wise Man’s Fear, this novella probably won’t suit your taste. Nonetheless, you don’t need to read those books in order to understand what’s happening, it’s just a day in the life of one of the most iconic characters of the books -and a personal favorite-: Bast. The storyline is structured in three main parts; morning, evening and night, and the reader follows this shady character everywhere.
Personally, I think the way in which the narration takes place fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the novella. It’s something informal, relaxed. You get to know some stuff about the Fae and more precisely about what is it that Bast does everytime he goes out to “investigate“. The Fae just remind me -a little bit- of Puck, I know, the Fae are not all the same blablabla, but Bast is never taking things seriously. He’s always kinda fooling around, doing whatever he pleases, and it fits perfectly in my imagination in the exact same way as W.S. portrayed Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Always fooling humans.
But I’m not here to talk about my delusive comparison between Puck and Bast, which if you ask me it’s a perfectly fitting resemblance (I’ll just say that they both come from a hidden-from-the-human-eye world, they guide themselves by instinct and desire, and they just like to play games). Let’s get back to the main point: the s.s. gives some hints about the nature of this character, which are not particularly out in the open in the books. Bast is always mysterious, and he still is after this little grasp into his own “private” life, but now we have some hints on why he is with Reshi, etc. He also introduced us, and K., into the way “magic” (grimmarie and glammourie) works in his own world, and how Kvothe’s shaed works (grimmarie).
All in all, Rothfuss managed to create a refreshing story about one of the favorite characters of his books, adding interesting pieces of information regarding the main storyline, but not engaging too much into it – to allow people who haven’t read the books enjoy the story-. We take part in the narrative sometimes as one of the children that visit him in the Lightning Tree, as we are able to get new info the same way they do. Bast does not only share with us stuff about the Fae, but we also get to see him do some magic tricks. He allures women as he allures us into his daily life, he creates charms and he does not like lying but he manages to create the best of lies.
Patrick Rothfuss, I would love to read your grocery list.
– Do you need another souvenir?
I hope you liked it, and I would love to discuss on Rothfuss’ work with someone so leave a comment if you like 😀 Next time, I’ll try to be more objective with my posts, but it’s not a promise 🙂