Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
  • The first Thomas Harris book I bought was Red Dragon
  • To rob Hannibal of his mystery is robbing us of the pleasure of savouring his schemes and his wit and his delightful arrangements for yet another delicious dinner

    • by wise_bookworm

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      The first Thomas Harris book I bought was Red Dragon. It was also the book in which Dr. Hannibal Lecter, M. D, made his grand entry.

      I bought it from a Wheeler store at a railway station and - thinking about a predatory Anthony Hopkins and a steely yet fragile Jodie Foster - prepared myself for a chilling ride through the darkest labyrinths of the human mind. Three days later, when I finally put the book down and twisted my head this way and that to relax my neck muscles, I had had my ride, and more. I had by then realised that I had discovered an author of enormous capabilities.

      That magic was smashed to smithereens when, a couple of years after my first date with the cannibalistic (poorly describes him, though) doctor, I wearily closed a much slimmer volume titled Hannibal Rising,


      by the same - but by now shockingly feebler - author. Hannibal Rising is almost everything Red Dragon was not. The storyline is laughable, the mystery is lost, the violence is comical and Hannibal gets reduced to something akin to a flawed Marvel Comics superhero, sans, of course, the tights.

      Harris, who was obviously driven into the pitiful situation in which he had no option but to yield to Dino de Laurentiis’ threats (Laurentiis told him to come up with another Lecter story for yet another film. When Harris refused, he threatened to get it written by someone else), simply should not have written it. Hannibal Lecter, whose demon-infested past we learn about from this book, was once mysterious and other worldly and that was his sole charm.

      He was unlike any other man we have ever come across. He was ruthless, he ...


      • was a man of taste, he “perused” Italian editions of the Vogue, he could produce exquisite drawings with a charcoal, he ate the livers of census takers with fava beans and some amarone della valpolicella (not chianti, as Hopkins so chillingly hissed), he was an elegant and heady mixture of style, mystery, raw and primal passion, erudition: someone we admire, fear and possibly want to be like. Here, in Hannibal Rising, we meet his younger self - who is tormented by the memory of his sister’s murder and subsequent consumption by war criminals, is in love with his Japanese aunt, slays butchers and plays with a French inspector, methodically eliminates his sister’s killers and takes a decided leap into cold darkness.

        We wonder how this angry, troubled, vulnerable young man ever became the cold, brilliant, witty and razor-sharp doctor. It simply doesn’t fit in. Even

        the villains are poorly developed and hilariously named.

        Grutas, sample this, is Lecter’s arch-enemy in the book. It was a capital mistake. The weakest passages of Harris’s previous book about Dr.

        Lecter, “Hannibal”, were the ones that tried to give some insight into his psyche. We do not need any insight into his psyche. To rob Hannibal of his mystery is robbing us of the pleasure of savouring his schemes and his wit and his delightful arrangements for yet another delicious dinner.

        We need no Lady Murasaki, Hannibal’s aunt, at best a vaguely samurai character who simply is not at home in the Lcter studiolo. We need no more Lecter. We shall be happy to wake up to visions of Clarice Starling quietly approaching her eternal nemesis, we shall be happy to wake up to the screaming of the lambs.

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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in April, 2008. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 171504337130930/k2311a0415/4.15.08
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