Monday, May 21, 2007

The Children of Hurin

Okay--clearly the painting-a-week, $450,000-a-year concept is flawed. So here I am, between paintings, thinking I'd review the new book by (not really--it's complicated) J.R.R. Tolkein. It's called The Children of Hurin. Don't rush out.

There. That's it. That's the review: Don't rush out.

More, you cry? Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.

At first, being committed to a green lifestyle, I reserved a copy at the library. I started at #24 on the waiting list. A couple of weeks later, I went back to the library to see how I was doing.

"You're number twenty," the person told me, pleased that I'd shown so much progress in a mere two weeks.

Distraught, I went to the local Borders and bought the damned thing. What kind of a place is this that they don't even have Barnes and Noble (a vastly superior alternative to Borders)? It may be hell. I may, literally, be in hell. I mean, some people who die instantly (massive strokes, decapitations, crushed by a piano falling from the third floor of a brownstone) may not actually know they've made the transition from alive to dead. And you know God has one of those superfast Macs, so the yes/no decision re. heaven/hell is made instantaneously. You're walking down 19th Street one day and the next thing you know, you're in hell. Blink of an eye, literally.

Anyway, I went home and started to read the forward by Christopher Tolkein, the Master's son and virtual co-author.

Quick parenthetical aside: the genius of my boy J.R.R. was that he could actually render up all that epic dialogue, weird names and extraordinarily dense fake history in a manner that didn't sound like he had a stick up his ass. And this, let me tell you, is a lot harder than it sounds.

The acorn has apparently dropped, in the case of the son, quite a distance from the tree. Must have been a stiff wind. Because with every minute I spent reading the forward by young Tolkein the angrier I became. Who the hell left this pantload in charge of the proceedings? His choice to employ and then inability to wield the archaic syntax that his father made so pleasing left me open-mouthed.

I'm reminded of something I wrote a couple of weeks ago and shared with you:
There are insights to be gleaned from the "Aha! moment" regarding international vs. domestic and pcp vs. specialist prescription drivers which might warrant a press outreach, but they are currently either lost or impenetrable. They need to be granularized for media consumption.
But Yo, Dog! I was joking!

Still, I--the committed reader--beat my way through enough of Mr. Tolkein's crap to make the above read like Hemingway, hoping the book itself would be better. Sadly, I was mistaken. I put it down after thirty pages, so depressed I could go no further. Truth of the matter: I should have known better.

I mean, I'm a hobbit-head. Have been since 8th grade. I'll probably go back and make myself read it someday. But you? My advice to you is: Don't rush out.


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