Flieger's 'Green Suns and Faerie' stands among the best attempts to understand the life and meaning of Tolkein's works. She brings not only thorough scholarship to the task, but also adds a spiritual dimension to her extensive essays. One senses that she has begun to comprehend the burden of Tolkein's heart: His desire to communicate the beauty, mystery and the Great Goodness that is beyond the veil of this present life which awaits all who long for it. Elliott Tepper, Madrid, Spain
With the release of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and forthcoming film version of The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien’s popularity has never been higher. In Green Suns and Faërie, author Verlyn Flieger, one of world’s foremost Tolkien scholars, presents a selection of her best articles―some never before published―on a range of Tolkien topics.
Verlyn Flieger can always be counted upon to produce scholarly and fascinating essays on J.R.R. Tolkien. In Green Suns and Faerie we have a collection of some of her best work divided into three parts: first examining Tolkien's world and its relationship to our own, then looking at Tolkien's use of the medieval story traditon, and finally placing Tolkien within the context of twentieth century modernism. The primary focus of the essays is on Middle-earth, but there are a number which also deal with Tolkien's famous lecture On Fairy Stories and his shorter work Smith of Wootton Major (Flieger has edited both of these works and expanded upon them with intriguing new material, but unfortunately neither has been published in the US.)
As always when reading Flieger I found so much that was new to me. I was dazzled by her explanation of the "neck" riddle in The Hobbit and enthralled by her discussions of such disparate topics as reincarnation, the contrast (or connection) between fate and free will, and especially by her written "debate" with Tom Shippey over Smith of Wootton Major. One essay, on Tolkien and the Matter of Britain, was especially resonant now that his unfinished poem The Fall of Arthur has been published. But the article I most enjoyed dealt with a topic that was especially personal to Tolkien: his friendship with Rob Gilson and Geoffrey Bache Smith, both of whom were killed in World War I.
Reading Flieger is like having a long and pleasant conversation with a highly knowledgeable friend about an author whose works we both dearly love.