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Castleview Paperback – March 1, 1997
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From Library Journal
An unexplained murder, a house with many secrets, and a phantom castle that haunts the midwestern town of Castleview lead Will Shields and his family across the borders of reality into a world inhabited by beings out of legend. Wolfe's ( There Are Doors, LJ 11/15/88) deceptively simply prose masks a wealth of complexity in his latest real-world fantasy. Recommended.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The beginning is a mess of interconnecting story lines and characters. People meet, part, meet others, part, bouncing around like pinballs. It's a mess of contrivances, coincidences, and deus machina, and I'm not clear on the point of it all. I'm sure Wolfe had one, because there had to be an easier/clearer way to move the story forward. Technology fails at appropriate times, people make their appearances and then vanish. I get that some of them are ghosts/fairies and magic is involved, but it makes it all darn hard to follow.
Also had difficulty with all the female characters, and there were a lot of them. The real estate agent, the house wife, her mother, her sister, her niece, the car salesman's wife, her daughter, the woman running the camp, and the various girls living there... Didn't help that they all had vanilla names like Sally and Julie. It was difficult keeping them apart, and I had to resort to context of the story, which sometimes was thin.
Lastly, after a majority of the book dealing with people talking and driving around to do more talking, it was finally in the last chapters that the plot moved to Fairyland and things got interesting. Of course, this being Gene Wolfe, answers and explanations were pretty thin.
Overall the pacing on this novel felt a little strange. All in all it was an enjoyable read that will almost certainly warrant another look since, as with many Wolfe books, this one had many subtle events, hints, myths and story lines happening which I am sure that I did not catch the first time through.
This book, more than any other, taught me to enjoy the journey with Wolfe and quit rushing to find out what happens in the end.