One of the stories in this collection is Leaf by Niggle, an allegorical tale about an artist in which Tolkien is plainly expressing his anxiety that his work of creating Middle Earth will never be finished and that what fragments he does manage to produce will be ignored by most people and eventually forgotten altogether. It’s quite affecting, and I suppose he never did finish it, but there seems little danger of it being forgotten, since all his notes and half-finished stories are now available as pricey books. This one, Tales from the Perilous Realm , comes with a beautiful Alan Lee painting of a hero confronting a dragon on the front, perhaps designed to nudge the unwary purchaser into thinking they’re buying something Lord of the Rings related. What they’ll actually be taking home is an anthology of short tales which were mostly available as separate small volumes when I was a young ‘un, bulked out with Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Tales . Farmer Giles of Ham is the central story,
Reviews and ruminations by Philip Reeve, author of the Mortal Engines series, the Railhead trilogy, Here Lies Arthur, Goblins, and The Legend of Kevin, Pugs of the Frozen North, etc, with Sarah McIntyre.