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The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Posted by RB Kollannur on July 15, 2012

Note: This review is part of a weekly book review column that I write for City Journal, an English newspaper based in Thrissur, Kerala.

Published on 21/04/2012

Publisher – HarperCollins; Year of Publication – 1937; Pages – 365; Cost at the time of purchase – Rs 299

The Hobbit is the story of a band of dwarves who set out to slay an almighty dragon and steal his treasure. With them is a hobbit, a creature that is littler than even the diminutive dwarves. Hobbits are a non adventurous folk who do not go around slaying dragons, but this one was an odd little hobbit. It is not just dragons that they have to deal. On their way they have to face up to giant spiders, dangerous goblins and horrifying trolls ready to kill them and eat them. It is only with their wit and common sense that they can outlast these troublesome obstacles on their way to their bounty.

Many of us have seen and loved the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. But we shudder when we see the 1100 page book by Tolkien. Which is a real shame indeed, because Tolkien happens to be one of the most delightful narrators of children’s stories that you will ever come across. His words can actually breathe life into the stories and allow the reader recreate the story in his mind. The experience of reading the book far exceeds the movies that, I am sure, had enthralled you. That is, if you have the patience to read the very large book.

But fear not. You are not going to lose out on Tolkien’s literary skills because of it. The Hobbit is a much leaner book and far simpler to read. The narrative style blends well with the descriptive nature of the story to give the reader an enriching experience of the novel. For these reasons, it is recommended for early teenagers as a way to develop their own literary skills before embarking onto classier literature.

Written primarily for children, it was the success of this book that spawned the Lord of the Rings franchise. Set before the LOTR saga, many of the themes presented in The Hobbit have been expanded in its sequel. The movie is already being made; in two parts – with the first part slated for release by the end of the year and the second a year later. Tolkien has written many more books for children. He once wrote a story for his young son to cheer him up after he lost his pet dog. And thus was born Roverandom, the story of the dog that went to the moon. But that is a review for later.


One Response to “The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien”

  1. […] 5)    34 Bubblegums and Candies by Preeti Shenoy – Published on 13/04/2012 6)    The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien – Published on 21/04/2012 7)    Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Heylar – […]

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