Monday, August 8, 2016

Review of The Return of Tarzan

Book 28. The Return of Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

This is the second novel of the Tarzan series, and I was hesitant to tackle it without first having read Tarzan of the Apes. But I assumed that between movies, comic books, and general pop culture osmosis, I could jump right into the second novel.

And I was able to catch up very quickly. The novel starts with Tarzan separated from Jane Porter, despite them being in love with each other. He begins this novel feeling rootless, having sacrificing his prospects of marrying Jane. He leaves America for Europe, and on the ship runs into a range of characters, including the Russian Nikolas Rokoff. Tarzan breaks up Rokoff’s efforts at shipboard crime, earning the man’s ire.

Rokoff dogs Tarzan in his adventures across Europe and Africa, but the King of the Apes eventually defeats the Russian once and for all. The story also details Jane’s emotional and physical traumas during this time. The novel ends with a pair of weddings, and Tarzan coming fully into his identity as Lord Greystoke. He has also become the King of a tribe in Africa, with access to huge stockpiles of gold. It is safe to say that this is a very happy ending.

There are easy comparisons to be made between Burrough’s storyline for Tarzan and his storyline for John Carter. Both are adventure stories with an underlying love story. With the Carter novels, I found that the books became repetitive once Carter and Dejah Thoris married. I hope that Burroughs did not fall into the same trap with this series.

But there is no reason to worry about future novels at this point. This was a fun adventurous romp of a novel, with a deeply satisfying emotional core.

Source: The Classic Tales Podcast. Narrator BJ Harison does a terrific job handling the various characters and accents, as well as creating an interesting and effective “Tarzan cry.”

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