Purveyors of the Magic of Imagination
Llyfrawr: Home of the Mathomium
 
An American Forger in Wales
The Case of the Colleen from the Colonies

Tolkien and Sanskrit cover


Also by this author:

A Tolkienian Mathomium

The Hobbitonian Anthology

Tolkien and Welsh

 

The Tolkienaeum Cover

 

Iter Tolkienensis Cover

 

Tolkien and Sanskrit Cover

An American Forger in Wales is a novel that is a concrete answer to the academic question that has been bandied about: “What would J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit have looked like if it had been written by an American?”.

The recipe for this parody called for translations of old manuscripts that lead to a city lost in the mountains that had a golden treasure and a dragon; letters that can only be read in a certain light; a once-a-year solar alignment; an adventure set in motion by an unannounced visitor; a reluctant hero practicing a profession held in ill repute (forgery); the hero procures a ring by chance, but not entirely legitimately, while escaping; plus a text peppered with foreign words and names, to name just a few of the ingredients.

The narrator is an American, but his tale is full of English and Welsh idiom to match its setting: ‘the Colonies’ are America; the cops are called ‘the Old Bill’ and they flash warrant cards instead of badges; thrift stores are called ‘charity shops’; the names of British ring sizes are letters instead of numbers; and Cockney Rhyming Slang mixes with Welsh (the base for Sindarin) when the characters speak.

The American literature that the novel parodies is that of the ‘hard-boiled’ detectives of the 1930s, which is the time frame in which Tolkien was writing The Hobbit.

When the ‘Colleen from the Colonies’ unexpectedly floats into our forger’s office in Cardiff, where he is serving time in Purgatory for his past transgressions, she brings with her all the things that blur the fine line between love and hate, heroism and cowardice, generosity and greed, truth and lies. Can the forger see through this murky fog from a shadowy life to tell the difference, and escape from its grip without getting killed in the process?

You’ll have to read the book to find out.

 

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