For those who don't obsessively keep up with Tolkien stuff, I thought I'd mention the recent appearance of The Children of Hurin
. It's a story from the First Age of Middle-earth, thousands of years before The Lord of the Rings
, and probably as close to a classical tragedy as anything Tolkien wrote. Those who have read any of Tolkien's posthumous books probably already know the basic story, but this book is targeted at a wider audience.
My understanding is that The Children of Hurin
is meant to be broadly accessible: people should be able to enjoy it immediately after reading The Lord of the Rings
(without the need to make it through The Silmarillion
first, for example). I'm eager to know how successfully it has met that goal, but I've found that my own long experience with Middle-earth makes it very difficult for me to guess how a newcomer to the story would react.
So I figured I'd ask all of you. If you've enjoyed The Lord of the Rings
but haven't read (or at least, finished) any of Tolkien's posthumous works, try this one and let me know how it goes. If you're already more of an expert than that, see if you can get your less expert friends to read it and report back on their experiences (and read it yourself: it's even a bit more complete than the version in Unfinished Tales
). I'm really eager to know how people react to this book (in part so I can figure out the best way to incorporate it into my Custom Tolkien Book List
A final word of advice: the introduction to the book gives a useful "bridge" between The Lord of the Rings
and the earlier era in which Hurin
takes place. But it's a bit long; if you're finding it wearying, just skip on ahead to the main text of the story. Also, there's a list of names for reference at the back of the book; that can be handy if you're having trouble keeping track of who's who. (I'm interested in knowing how effective that introduction is as a guide for less expert readers, too.)