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Finn the half-Great Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Oct 13 2009
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About the Author
Theo Caldwell is an internationally known investor, writer, and commentator. Born in Toronto, Theo is a citizen of Ireland, Canada, and the United States. Finn the half-Great is Theo’s first novel and it is dedicated to his beloved dog, Harvey. Learn more about Finn at www.halfgreat.com.
Top Customer Reviews
I surely hope Theo Caldwell won't have us waiting long to read his next half-Great adventure!
It is about time an author did for Irish mythology what Tolkein did for the bloody English. The characters in Finn are interesting, well-developed and very funny. Rather than taking us to an imaginary world, Caldwell's story is set in our own, back in a time when our myths were real. In this, Finn awakens our collective memeory and unveils the origins of our hopes and fears -- and more than a few of our turns-of-phrase. Required reading for all Irishmen and brilliant story for all those who wish they were.
Theo Caldwell's "Finn the Half-Great," on the other hand, defies these steretypical failings. From the beginning, the author's joie de vivre, insight into human nature and compassion are coupled with a wry sense of humour, and a thorough, sure knowledge of the fantasy land he is creating. It is nearly familiar, achingly so at times; but original and fresh in his bringing it to life.
The characters speak to us through the centuries and the veil of fantasy -because human nature does not change even if times and beliefs do. Exemplar of this is Finn's long-suffering wife: she is at once loyal and tart, critical and loving - the partner of many successful marriages readers will have known in their own lives and seen in the lives of others. Not to spoil the plot, but even his beasties have a sense of humour and a touch of honour.
Not cloying, but deeply felt; not "real" but deeply possible; not "true" but deeply of our world, Finn's quest is fun to read, but, more, it resonates of the power of potential, of love and of triumph over adversity. If those aren't messages for all ages and all times - especially our own just now - I don't know what is. But the theme is not struck at us, hammer-like; rather it is forged with a light touch, and reveals itself through equally sprightly writing.
Caldwell seems a real star of a galaxy whose light is just penetrating Earth's vision. I can't wait for the next volume of Finn's adventures !
The publisher recommends the book for children aged 9 to 12 (grades 3 to 6). But the author keeps pelting the reader with unnecessary and pompous vocabulary. Ten year olds do not understand the meaning of bilious, shoal, piety, belie, victuals, uncouth, pang, confound, don, mundane, clout, cantankerous, malodorous, impertinent, hexagonal, nonplussed, simperer, bough and porcine. Embarrassingly, the author sometimes misapplies such words, betraying his ignorance of the word's semantic nuance or even its plain meaning.
On page 2, the author's hasty world-building drowns the reader in a tsunami of proper nouns with insufficient context: Gogmagog, Great Ones, Finn mac Cuhail, Cuhail mac Art, Muirne, Nuada, Albion, Fomorians, Frost Giants, Treryn, Eire, Fianna, Ymir.
The book portrays an unsympathetic protagonist, so you really don't care if he wins or fails, lives or dies. Early on, a human taunts the protagonist Finn with "Did your mummy give you that [lavender] scarf?" Finn responds by lifting the human in the air by the neck (like he's Darth Vader) and threatens to disembowel him with a sword. Finn later cuts his enemy Ymir into two or more pieces, leaving behind a "pool of venomous black blood".
The book obsesses over how the fantasy races of this world differ. The racialist descriptions disturbed me, hinting at undertones of white supremacism. The women act as one-dimensional stereotypes: frustrated and bossy, housewives and spinsters.Read more ›