Friday 17 January 2020

The Hero - Lee Child - The Enduring Myth That Makes Us Human

The Hero:
The Enduring Myth That Makes Us Human
Lee Child
Ella Baron (Illustrator)
Harper Collins
TLS Books
ISBN 9780008355784
eISBN 9780008355791

This book was not exactly what I was expecting when I picked it up. I cannot put into words what I was expected, I had been thinking along the lines of Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with A Thousand Faces. Or even more something along the lines of Reacher’s enduring appeal. Instead I got something along a more philosophical lines of a broad outtake of How To Think Like A Neandertal by Thomas Wynn & Frederick L. Coolidge. Or an undated twist on Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer. But maybe written after much of the poppy was consumed.

The book begins with a history of the TLS:

“The Times Literary Supplement was born in January 1902. Its first ever front page bashfully stated that ‘during the Parliamentary session Literary Supplements to “The Times” will appear as often as may be necessary in order to keep abreast with the more important publications of the day’. Fortunately, the question of necessity was not left in the hands of literary journalists (who, we can imagine, might occasionally push for a holiday or two), and the title became a weekly one. A few years later, the TLS split entirely from The Times.

Since then, we have prided ourselves on being the world’s leading magazine for culture and ideas. Our guiding principle for the selection of pieces remains the same as it ever has been: is it interesting; and is it beautifully written? Over the years, our contributors have included the very best writers and thinkers in the world: from Virginia Woolf to Seamus Heaney, Sylvia Plath to Susan Sontag, Milan Kundera to Christopher Hitchens, Patricia Highsmith to Martin Scorsese.”

There are no named chapters in this volume. Or even numbered but the book is clearly divided into sections each beginning with a brilliant black and white sketch. There are seven such illustrations that seem to demark clear sections in Lee Child’s thought and progression of ideas. Special of sections the first section of the book is a history of the poppy and opioids. While reading that first section I almost gave up on the book. But because it was by Child I persisted and I am glad that I did. The story does come full circle and return to that first section, but in a rather roundabout way. 

It was intriguing to follow some of the migrations of word meanings, those that make sense and are approved of by Child. And some that He obviously does not. Over all it is an interesting read, and for the price of the eBook worth it. 

Books by Lee Child:
Jack Reacher Books Publishing Order:

Killing Floor
Die Trying
The Visitor /Running Blind
Echo Burning
Without Fail
The Enemy
One Shot
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Gone Tomorrow
61 Hours
Worth Dying For
The Affair
A Wanted Man
Never Go Back
Make Me
Night School
The Midnight Line
Past Tense
Blue Moon

The Sentinel Jack Reacher's Rules

Reacher Short Stories and Novella’s:
No Middle Name – Complete Collected Short Stories
Stories in No Middle Name Collection:
Too Much Time
Second Son
Deep Down
Guy Walks into A Bar
James Penney’s New Identity
High Heat
Everyone Talks
Not A Drill
Small Wars
Maybe They Have A Tradition

No Room At The Motel
The Picture of the Lonely Diner

Other Short Stories:
The Fourth Man
The Christmas Scorpion
Faking a Murderer with Kathy Reichs
Cleaning the Gold with Karin Slaughter
Good and Valuable Consideration with Joseph Finder

Other Books by Lee Child
The Hero
Jack Reacher: A Mysterious Profile

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