Monday, December 3, 2007

Book Review: Tintin in The Congo by Herge

I am not a great fan of the Tintin series but bought this book, like many other readers, because of the controversy that surrounds it. There is a short introduction preceeding the story which explains, and attempts to apologise for, the less than flattering way in which native Africans are portrayed and the fact that Tintin goes around shooting at anything that moves. In reality the racial stereotypes are so ridiculous that surely they could cause little offense in today's world, and Tintin's attitude towards them simply comes across as foolish. Perhaps more disturbing is Tintin's attitude to wildlife, but again, in a more informed world his behaviour just strikes the reader as idiotic which does little to make the reader warm towards the character in this story.

Tintin in the Congo is quite lacking in story, with no real purpose from beginning to end, although a few little episodes are thrown in but not expanded fully and for me this book is not at all interesting. The only saving grace of Tintin in the Congo are the bright, colourful illustrations which will appeal to many people, particularly children. However, once again, I am not really a fan of Herge's drawings and together with the moribund dialogue and lack of story I don't rate this book very highly.

This book is for Tintin fans only and is of interest only because of its long-time ban: now Tintin fans can complete their collection. For others, I don't suggest reading this as your first Tintin story as it is poor in terms of plot and dialogue, and if you are easily offended then this is certainly a book to avoid.

Score: 4/10

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