Silence of the Lambs was one of my favourite films back in the day. When I read the book later, I appreciated it for what it was: a well written and engaging thriller. I never did read Red Dragon (which is about Lector during his pre-Lambs days, I think) but I believe the film was passable if you’d nothing better to do of an evening. I was intrigued, however, when I heard about Hannibal (Lector in his post-Lambs days) and I decided that I would give it a go. I’d even been told by a few people that they’d finished all 576 pages of it in a week! I think someone I know polished it off in four days! To say that it was the worst book I’ve ever read (second only to the The Da Vinci Crap) doesn’t do the awfulness of this book enough justice. I battled through it for six whole months, determined to reach the end of it, and read countless other books in the meantime. It was simply dreadful, and I’ve made a point since of telling that to anyone who’ll listen. So, you can imagine my delight when I read this review in the Guardian of Hannibal Rising (Lector as a kid I think, although surely they’ve run out of decades by now!) which contained such gems as:
The fall, as the French don’t call autumn, was late that year as Lady Murasaki nursed Hannibal back to speech. First, a farting flubber sound; then fully formed words.
Notice how the text switches to italics and the present tense. Recognise the hand of a master storyteller with no editor.
“We have reached that random point in the plot where I need to introduce some looted art treasures,” said Popil. “So I need your help tracking down your family’s long-lost Leonardos and Titians.”
“Ah, good,” laughed Hannibal. “I expect the looters are the same people who killed my family. That will give me an excuse to go to Lithuania and kill a few of them in graphic detail.”
Hannibal smiled. He had got away with his greatest crime to date. A bestselling thriller with no thrills at all.
It’s been a while since I’ve read such a disparaging book review, and although I will never, ever turn a page in the book, I’m absolutely certain that none of it’s unfair.