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This is a powerful and disturbing novel -- the tragic story of a man crippled by external misfortune and by his own proud and violent temperament. I began this book in paper format when it first came out but soon gave it up. I found the story to be grim and unappealing. I then decided to give Audible a try, and I'm glad I did. Christopher Lee's brilliant narration saved the book for me. He gives full justice to Tolkien's musical prose and The Children of Hurin carried me happily through several weeks of commuting. I have to say that the story is easier to take when split up into 20 minute chunks.
The text that we have was not completed by Tolkien, but was edited by his son from rough drafts and notes. This accounts for a lot. The novel is repetitious. In fact, it feels as if one is hearing the same story several times over. The same themes of heroism, followed by rashness and failure, occur again and again throughout the novel in slightly different episodes. And throughout, Turin, the hero, never seems to learn anything or to be changed by what he experiences. It occurred to me at the end, that perhaps what we have is precisely that: several attempts at the same short story, strung one after the other, rather than a complete novel with a fully realized narrative arc.
I suspect that if Tolkien had managed to finish the work to his liking, it would have been shorter, or more varied. It is one aspect of Tolkien's genius, evident in the Hobbit and the LOTR, that he never tells the same story twice. Every chapter of the Hobbit, for example, is not only a different adventure, but a different kind of adventure. That inventiveness is missing from The Children of Hurin. For this reason, I give the book only 4 stars instead of 5.
Nonetheless, I am glad that I bought this recording. Christopher Lee is first rate and the work is a masterpiece, albeit a flawed and unfinished one.
102 of 102 people found this review helpful
Wonderful book for Tolkien fans. Christopher Lee, who played Saruman, does a wonderful job narrating. A Tolkien fanatic in his own right his reading lends an almost palpable weight to the story, helped by how easily he reads Tolkien's imagined languages. Non-Tolkien fans or new readers may find this book difficult to follow at times and would be better served to start with his more well known works.
28 of 30 people found this review helpful
An excellent tale read by Christopher Lee who's voice brings it to life. I'd recommend reading/listening The Silmarillion first so that you can truly understand and respect the gravity of the events that happen in this book. Part of this tale is told there but not nearly all of it.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I have just finished listening to the audiobook version of "The Children of Hurin" by J.R.R. Tolkien- told in elegant and bold prose, at times bordering on poetry akin to the style of Old Norse Sagas.
Read by Christopher Lee (who played Saruman the White Wizard in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy)- a powerful voice equal to the telling and with much of the nobility and bearing which flow from Tolkien's words- the story is conjured in to life and absorbs you into the legendarium. His pronounciation is rich, his tones varied and evocative delivering a powerful narrative experience.
Those with an ear for a good tale, whatever the ending or the style will cherish this story and those whos imaginations have been piqued by Tolkien's writing in the past shall not be disappointed. I was enthralled by this book and I heartily recommend it!
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Perfectly read, great story, if you love lord of the rings or the hobbit, it's a must have for any fan
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Fantastic insight to the LOTR mythology after being in love with the films for so long, and just reading the trilogy and craving more. Sir Christopher Lee is such a treasure, and I am grateful to have had such a storied human read such a storied tale from J.R.R Tolkien about this world I continue to love. The tragedy that is this story is very impactful and resonated more than any book I have read so far. Thank you to all who worked on this project.