I think this is a really neat analysis of a very interesting book. I haven't read it (I'm still waiting for a release date on Doors of Stone. Take your time, Pat!), so I'm unfamiliar with the plot details, but a lot of what Samuel Chapman describes in his article is the very same reason that I love to write fantasy.
I adore this. This is the reason that I write fantasy: not because it has epic moments (which is a word which we have dreadfully devalued from overuse and misuse), nor because it has dragons and magical talking swords and wizard's duels (though all of those are awesome), but because by writing fantasy we take on roles as sub-creators, as Tolkien put it, drawing from mythologies both true and false, and creating, as it were, mythologies of our own. That sense of breadth, that connective spirit from the ages past to present, is the heart of fantasy. And it begins with that question: "Why imagine more?"Nothing encapsulates [Auri's] motivations so well as her thoughts on why she bothers adding scent to her soap when plain tallow would work fine: “How terrible to live by the stark, sharp, hollowness of things that were simply enough?”
The question of soap is one you could just as easily ask about all fantasy, and all the mythology that came before it: “Why imagine more? Why add things to the world? Why bother adding fragrance to your soap?” The Slow Regard of Silent Things was, on one level, written as an answer to that question.
That is, undoubtedly, the reason that I choose to write fantasy. Strip away all of the things we've made of it, and you have pure storytelling: myth given life, breath, energy and motion. The words themselves cease from death as they spring to life in a thousand thousand readers' heads. It is the great power and privilege of all storytellers to create life, a power which is given to no other created being.The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a microcosm of everything fantasy is about. When an author invites us into a world they’ve constructed, it can start out as a limited space. They guide us through it, illuminating our way... but the ultimate work of animating it falls to us. I think that’s why we keep coming back to fantasy, because at its core, it gives us a chance to do what Auri does every single day. Strip away all the dragons, the wizards, the great mountain ranges—much as I really, truly love all of those elements—and what’s left is the chance to bring something to life.