Thursday, 28 December 2006

The Fourth and Earliest Lecter Novel

I bought and finished the Hannibal novel, Hannibal Rising, one Advent afternoon. My belated thoughts follow.

The book is smaller in size and scope than the previous novels, and possesses its own unique tenor and feel. Lighter certainly than all the others, it lacks the paced adventure of Silence of the Lambs, the virile perversion of Red Dragon, and the diabolic fascination of Hannibal. And this is perhaps my only criticism, for the book is otherwise excellently done: the other novels held such fascination because each contained a specific and gloriously elaborated element that gave it being; Explaining Hannibal's origin and development turned out to be less intriguing than I had hoped. I expected as much interior material as was given so delightfully in Hannibal, yet this was lacking.

Yet despite this caveat it remains eminently readable, if only for the delicate presence of Lady Murasaki. I counsel all uniniated readers of the Hannibal Lecter novels to start their journey with The Silence of the Lambs, however, continuing on to Red Dragon & thereafter Hannibal, and then only onto Hannibal Rising. As with Tolkien, internal chronology is a bad indicator of 'what to read first'.

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