Book review: The Fall of Arthur

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 11:33 10/04/2014
The Fall of Arthur
The Fall of Arthur

Relevant offers

Books

Christchurch author related to Shakespeare From Beaudie to Dame Silvia, here's the unvarnished truth from 60 great New Zealanders Jeremy Elwood & Michele A'Court: What's all the fuss about Kiwi books? Kelly Ana Morey's fifth novel tackles the career of legendary racehorse Phar Lap Review: This Model World, Anthony Byrt Why Charles M Schulz gave Peanuts a black character in 1968 Reviews: The Love of a Bad Man, The Malice of Waves Best Books I Never Wrote: Geoffrey Palmer Review: The Schooldays of Jesus, JM Coetzee Rocker Jimmy Barnes reveals his troubled childhood in memoir Working Class Boy

The Fall of Arthur

REVIEW: by J.R.R. Tolkien

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

J.R.R. Tolkien never ceases to amaze me, with unpublished work still surfacing 40 years after his death.

The Fall of Arthur, like most of the "new" Tolkien published of late, is incomplete, but there is enough of this poem in alliterative metre to both appreciate the legend of King Arthur and Tolkien's skill with words.

About half of the book features the incomplete poem, which details King Arthur's overseas expedition and his great sea battle against the traitorous Mordred upon his return to England.

It almost comes across as a Shakesperean tragedy. The language is more accessible than the Bard, but equally lyrical.

A lot of it is weighted with doom.

"You simply must finish it, " a friend wrote to Tolkien in 1934 after reading the draft. Then The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings got in the way.

The other half of the book is full of Tolkien's son Christopher's musings on his father's writing process. He draws on various drafts trying, in some cases, to ascertain which is the latest.

Christopher Tolkien's contribution to the book is scholarly and will appeal more to those with a scholarly bent.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content