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A literary insight for Tolkien enthusiasts


Book: The Story of Kullervo, Author: J.R.R Tolkien

Published posthumously from newly-discovered manuscripts, The Story of Kullervo is an unfinished draft by J R R Tolkien.

One of the author’s earliest short stories that he wrote in his early 20s, it is based on a Finnish ballad and reflects his fascination with Finnish, which served as a base for one of his later invented languages.

The book is sure to appeal to Tolkien enthusiasts as it contains an introduction from editor Verlyn Flieger as well as the titular story, two essays by the author and the editor’s essay. Personally, I didn’t like the fact that it was unfinished, being as it is purely a rough draft without ending, accompanied by Tolkien’s speech and comments from the editor.

However, Lord of the Rings fans are sure to enjoy the personal touch, while the insight it brings into Tolkien’s writing is reason enough to pick up a copy. 

It was also interesting to see the notes and abbreviations in his annotated essay, which revealed a little about how the great man’s mind must have worked.

As one of his earlier and unfinished works, The Story of Kullervo was an important exercise for Tolkien in creating darker stories with less likeable heroes – there is no Frodo or Bilbo here, but a seething lead whose tragic destiny overshadows him throughout his life. 

This is definitely not one for the casual reader, being more of a literary insight into the author and his unfinished work.

Pick up a copy of The Story of Kullervo in Jashanmal City Centre Bahrain or Seef Mall for BD11.400.

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