Sunday, 29 April 2007

The Children of Hurin by JRR Tolkien et al

The Children of Hurin
JRR Tolkien et al
(HarperCollins )

TOLKIEN'S reworked early masterpiece of 99 years ago is written in a style that wavers from the plain speaking and huffy heroism of the Viking sagas through a faux-biblical style and into English fairytale.

Men make many long speeches to each other, and give each other violent gifts with pompous names: the Helm of Hador, the sword Anglachlel.

It's all very snobby: thrall-work is looked down on; killing people with magic weapons is a good thing; elves are good, orcs are bad, humans are in between, dwarves are incidental.

All this could be great fun if there were any sense of a quest, any thematic meaning underlying it all, but it's a collection of incidents with little sense of any continuity, sequence, causality or reason.

But don't believe me. Throngs, and eke legions, of critics are lauding this, and it's truly loved by those who speak Elvish. Read it, if that be your doom.

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