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review 2018-01-13 12:25
Herge's Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 5, Herge
The Adventures of Tintinvolume 5 - Hergé

The best things about Tintin are:
1. Snowy.
2. Captain Haddock's cursing and insults.
3. Total preposterousness.


The worst things about Tintin are:
1. Patronising/offensive racial stereotyping.
2. Patronising/offensive national stereotyping.
3. Annoying cliff-hangers at the end of books.


The above are all present and correct in this volume but since the cliffhanger ending is in the Seven Crystal Balls one can move straight on and find out what is going on in Prisoners of the Sun. The solution came as a big surprise!


Snowy, besides being cute, interestingly, also: is helpful; tries to be helpful but actually makes things worse; gets in deep trouble; causes completely irrelevant mayhem. The best character by miles. Haddock's alliterative curses and insane malapropism-insults are on excellent form here. Billions of blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon! You belemnite!


As for total preposterousness, Tintin is a globe trotting 13 yo reporter who can drive, shoot pistols and rifles and, after the first couple of books, never seems to actually hand in a story. 'Nuff said - but one could go on forever.


Interestingly, that other famous kids' comic, Asterix, also features copious quantities of national stereotyping - but it's hilarious rather than distasteful. Why? I think precisely because in the case of Asterix, it's obviously a joke and the authors are as happy to poke fun at France and the French (i.e. themselves) as they are any and every other nation on Earth.

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text 2018-01-12 12:25
Reading progress update: I've read 128 out of 192 pages.
The Adventures of Tintinvolume 5 - Hergé

All is explained! Except, perhaps, how Professor Calculus doesn't seem to have noticed that he was kidnapped and transported all the way across the Pacific!

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text 2018-01-11 13:29
Reading progress update: I've read 64 out of 192 pages.
The Adventures of Tintinvolume 5 - Hergé

The Seven Crystal Balls ends on a cliffhanger with absolutely none of the mysteries explained.

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text 2018-01-10 22:50
Reading progress update: I've read 42 out of 192 pages.
The Adventures of Tintinvolume 5 - Hergé

Snowy is the best, right?

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review 2017-09-25 13:19
Master of The Name- Tavi Florescu



Master of the Name was for me an intriguing read, despite, or even perhaps because, it seriously challenged my knowledge base. However, I have to say that being so stretched is a mixed blessing when reading a fiction novel. I’m certain that I would have had an easier time with a stronger sense of where facts and cultural beliefs end and storytelling starts. I did wonder, particularly in the opening chapters, whether the story really benefitted from such complexity. However, the package is certainly worth a little effort, and since my reading has inspired me to investigate some very ancient, mostly Jewish, religious ‘stories’. I’m sure that even the most erudite should read on without worrying over much about the historically based elements that escape immediate understanding. This is after all an entertainment, which though strengthened by factual content doesn’t require any truths.

As to the power of words, especially names, I have no trouble getting that. Words certainly have power, both for good and evil. In this book, as in the real lives of many, even in our modern age, the very name of God has terrifying power. That physical power is held in religious text is certainly something that many religious people of varied faiths believe. Indeed, one may well be aware of the convention of avoiding writing or speaking the ‘true’ name of God, an idea appearing in by degrees in almost all mainstream religions. We can’t know what God calls himself, so then enabling priests of diverse colours to empower themselves.

Linguistics is powerful enough simply in lay usage, dictating so much that goes well and badly in relationships between individuals, ‘tribes’, and nations. When competing religions gets involved in the battle of words then poison soon flows.

At times, I felt that the backstory threatened to strangle the hunt for the murderer, to be dragging me too far from police tracks. I encourage those that have similar thoughts to read on, and perhaps enjoy a Wiki search for information when they have finished: as was my course. The ending is a revelation.

Tavi Florescu has woven his extensive knowledge base into a most exotic detective story. Whether he gets the balance correct between the background and the chase will depend on the individual reader’s preferences. This is a well written novel, which while defying conventional pigeonholing is certainly good literary fiction. As to the detective, I think I would be less intimidated by almost any ‘frankensteinian’ creations. Detective Gray and his pencil are not lightly crossed.



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