Saturday, June 23, 2007

Hannibal the Cannibal

It's funny how school ends and you start reading like crazy. I'm not sure how much I've read since school let out, but it's a lot, I can tell you that. I've just finished Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs. It was an interesting book with a few thought-provoking comments on the human condition, but it wasn't nearly as scary as I expected. It was, however, rather gritty.
Anyway, I wanted to make three comments.
1 - The author, Thomas Harris, graduated from Baylor University in the 1960s and worked for the Waco Tribune-Herald before heading off to work for the AP in New York. I wonder if he got the idea for this story from some crime in Waco . . .
2 - Hannibal Lecter's film counterpart was ranked the #1 villain in film history, and Clarice Starling (the hero) was the top-ranked female hero at #6. I haven't seem the movie (yet--I plan on renting it this weekend). Clarice may deserve it, but Hannibal wasn't that "evil" in this book; he was actually rather charming and sympathetic.* In fact, the most active villain was Jame Gumb and Clarice had the most conflict with Dr. Chilton. Weird, huh? Reading this book felt like watching The Empire Strikes Back before A New Hope. Like the famed Episode V, this book seems to be bridging between two storylines (told in Red Dragon and Hannibal, maybe?), but it can stand on its own.
3 - This novel leaves probably the best hole for a sequel ever. I won't go into detail so that I don't ruin the ending for anybody, but if you've read it, you know what I'm talking about. The book actually resolves at the end and you can rest, but you know there's more to the story.
This book isn't on my list of the greatest books ever written, but it's entertaining and worthwhile. If nothing else, read it because you have some tie to Waco, as does the author.
*Should I be worried about myself--sympathizing with Hannibal Lecter?

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