Review of Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

November 28, 2005
Filed under: Reviews 

Fantasy Audiobooks - Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. TolkienLetters From Father Christmas
By J. R. R. Tolkien; Read by Sir Derek Jacobi, John Moffat and Christian Rodska
2 cassettes – 120 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0618087842
Themes: / Fantasy / Christmas /

“Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply? For over twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole – from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories, of mischief and disaster, adventures and battles. Now, for the first time, these letters are brought to life on tape.”

While most of Tolkien’s work was published to great acclaim by ‘Tolkien the fantasy author’ or even ‘Tolkien professor of linguistics’, Letters From Father Christmas was never intended for publication at all, it was simply a collection of letters written over a twenty year period by ‘Tolkien the father’ to his own children. This makes it all the more special. There is no refinement of theme, or distinguishment of plot. Only the fanciful adventures of Father Christmas (that’s Santa Claus for most people) and the other residents of the North Pole. Sir Derek Jacobi along with John Moffat and Christian Rodska read the letters by performing in the voices of the letter writers. Accented with jingling bells in between letters. This is a skillfully adapted audiobook that transmutes the words of the original letters into audio gold. Unfortunately the letters also had wonderful colour illustrations referred to in the letters themselves. I’ve seen them – they were drawn and coloured by Tolkien himself, beautiful and funny images that can’t be adapted to audio. This is a case where the paperbook actually has something over a perfect audiobook translation of a paperbook. Harper Audio should have included a companion insert or something. But for those who already own a copy Letters From Father Christmas makes for perfect listening on the days leading up to Christmas!

Posted by Jesse Willis

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