Book Review #7, by Eric Weeks
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Review: The Book of the Dun Cow
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- Lebor na hUidre / The Book of the Dun Cow.
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Some of it is dark and dissonant.
The most unlikely character becomes the savior. Calvin University announces January Series lineup. It is a Medieval morality play, characters sharply drawn, clean-cut bestial caricatures—but they are fully human. It is in the diction of the Old Testament. Full of talking animals, a small-scale realm unto itself, an epic of good-and-evil with Homeric battles, virtues and vices embodied in fur, noses, claws, wings, beaks…, great geo-political problems ensconced in a farmyard or forest.
The creatures are real, three-dimensional, lovable and complex.
The Book of the Dun Cow (Literature) - TV Tropes
The battles are heart-breaking, as bloody and horrific as those before the walls of Troy, yet the combatants are ants, sheep, rabbits, a dog, a weasel, against basilisks. The diction has the weight of the Prophets, the phrases the tone of another world. Humour, suffering, courage, and profound meaning are couched in the very words of this brilliantly written book.
It is a novel unlike any other, and you must read it, read every word, to understand and know what words can do. View all 4 comments. A beast-fable, about good vs. A cock named Chauntecleer is the ruler of the animals. Cosmic evil is embodied as Wyrm, who lives " sub terra ," and whose son Cockatrice a half-cock half-serpent and his "children" the basilisks wage war against Chauntecleer's kingdom. Mundo Cani Dog ends up giving his life or so it seems to save Chauntecleer and the others, and this act of grace makes Chauntecleer see his own sinfulness he had despised Mundo Cani.
Mundo Cani turns out to still be alive A beast-fable, about good vs. Mundo Cani turns out to still be alive, under the earth, and we have to wait until the sequel The Book of Sorrows to find out what happens to him. The Dun Cow doesn't seem to have a very big role in the story, but she shows up whenever things get dire, and her silent presence gives the animals hope.
Mundo Cani Dog is kind of a Christ figure, mixed with a heavy dose of Eeyore-like gloominess. This is really Chauntecleer's story from beginning to end, as he develops into the leader he was called to be. The book is filled with biblical and literary allusions. Themes in the book include: self-sacrifice, the loneliness of leadership, the power to choose good over evil, and the importance of doing so. Wangerin is a master at character development.
The beasts in his fable all have wonderful quirks and individual ways of talking. They are all difficult to get along with in their own ways, and yet lovable. A very apt depiction of what we are all like in community with each other with our sinfulness. View 2 comments. Aug 14, Richard rated it it was amazing Shelves: animals , fantasy , reviewed , favorites , readagainable. Although this is a sort of parable, the tale rises above and beyond that. I found this hard to put down. Chauntecleer The Rooster!! This is a fav book, one which took me by surprise. Animal Farm , sure.
Watership Down , sure. But this was an accident to my collection and such a happy accident it has been.
Thoughts on books, reading, and life
A fantasy allegory of good and evil, I loved all the characters. Everything fits together and the comic interplay between the "office" of animals that's what it reminded me of kept it all rolling along. The earth had a face, then: smiling blue and green and gold and gentle, or frowning in furious g Chauntecleer The Rooster!!
The earth had a face, then: smiling blue and green and gold and gentle, or frowning in furious gouts of black thunder.
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But it was a face , and that's where the animals lived, on the surface of it. The leader of this menagerie is Chauntecleer, the Rooster who keeps his crew under control. He and his fellow animals inhabit the earth, there to protect against evil humans have yet to appear. In another nearby kingdom, another rooster is seduced by the malicious murmurings of Wyrm the Evil and the resulting chaos causes migrations and disruption.
Yes, this is an allegory of human nature, but Wangerin doesn't hit the reader over the head with philosophy. Our rooster hero is not John Wayne; he has doubts and makes mistakes, just like us. There's a bit of Tolkien here and the initial goodwill becomes tenuous when the struggle becomes prominent. I certainly enjoyed it, as I also liked the sequel, The Book Of Sorrows , though the second tome is gloomier. View all 3 comments.
Nov 11, Katie Long rated it liked it. Book Club this month decided that we would all choose a former National Book Award winner. I decided to pick the weirdest thing on the list, and a story inspired by Chaucer where farm animals unite to defeat evil, seemed like the right choice. It was a fun departure from my comfort zone. Feb 26, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , recommended. I was not prepared for what this book featuring a talking rooster would do to my poor heart. The best battle scene I have ever read, sorrow to match King David's, the putrid nature of sin, the glories of our little efforts in the war against the flesh and the devil, the comfort of the Holy Spirit No, I'm not overdoing it.
Truly, it's all here in this incredible book. Dec 10, Helena Sorensen rated it it was amazing. I'd love to have overheard the conversation between Walt Wangerin Jr.