Gene Wolfe, "Mute"

A brother and sister come home after the apocalypse or something.

(from Wastelands)

I took two days to read this one and that was a mistake because the author has no real interest in saying what’s going on. There are all these clues but I just can’t seem to put them together. Interesting, nonetheless.

3 thoughts on “Gene Wolfe, "Mute"

  1. dsb

    I’m with you OP — I felt like an idiot after reading it (several times) and not figuring out what was supposed to be so great about it.

    Only after searching online did I learn it relies pretty heavily on Through the Looking–Glass. My guess is the kids are stuck inside a TV.

    Everyone seems to make a big deal about the “big twist” that they can’t leave the immediate area of the house but I thought that was just about the only clear part of the whole story. I kept re–reading it thinking I was missing something bigger. And maybe I am…

    I don’t understand other parts like the ghost (?) of their dad, why Jimmy is almost never referred to by name (it’s almost always “her brother”), etc. Especially the pedophilia / incest at the very end — what’s that all about?

    One of the comments I found from Wolfe online is that Jill (the girl in the story) is nearing the age where she’s going to begin mensturating. So I suppose that must have something to do with the story?!

    This Gene Wolfe guy is hailed as a literary genius but he seems more like an overrated pervert to me.

  2. smithdude101

    Could the bus driver taking them into hell maybe be the devil? And the bags they came in with may hold certain memories they were aloud to have? And she remembered that her mother loved her but that was the only thing she could remember about her.
    It also mentions near the beginning that all the signs, pillars, and lions were all gone before she could draw a breathe, meaning that she was placed inside the house area where they can’t leave?
    I don’t know though it was a really interesting creepy story but there need to be more clear clues in it.


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