Saturday, October 3, 2020

255. Tarzan of the Apes

Tarzan of the Apes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
1914
Around 250 pages


I tend to only read horror novels in October, so this might be the last you'll hear from me until November. Over the years, I've really squeezed all the scary books out of the List, so my choices are pretty limited now. But, at the very least, my picks this year should qualify as disturbing: The Butcher Boy, The Ogre, Choke, Under the Skin, and The Killer Inside Me. Comment below if you have any spooky Halloween reads planned!

I think most people are familiar with the story of Tarzan. Personally, my heart belongs to the Disney version, as I grew up watching it and the soundtrack is banging. Of course, Disney tends to skate over some of the stickier plot points.

A British couple is marooned in the coastal jungles of Western Africa. Both die not long after their son is born, but he is soon adopted by a female ape, Kala. He is reluctantly accepted into the band of gorillas and rechristened "Tarzan" (White Skin in ape language). Tarzan has many adventures in the jungle, which include terrorizing a local tribe of cannibals, learning to read, and meeting other white people. 

This is an excellent bit of escapism and it's easy to see why the story inspired so many sequels and adaptions. There are many stories to tell with this character and setting. Of course, it is also very much a product of its time and it's difficult to be numb to the racism in the story. 

So overall a very compelling story marked with the obvious flaws of its era. 

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

The first of 24 books written by Burroughs with the character Tarzan.

Burroughs held 17 careers before he started to publish stories.

Burroughs claimed his only inspiration was the Remus and Romulus myth in Roman mythology. 

UP NEXT: Rosshalde by Herman Hesse. So far my only experience with Herman Hesse is having to read Siddhartha in high school.


1 comment:

  1. I grew up with a Tarzan television show, movies and I loved the animated version from Disney. As you said, excellent music and it was fun. It will be nice to see movies coming out without the touch of racism they all have seemed to need in the past!

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