Book review: The Valley of the Cobras by Herge
I read all – well, nearly all, I don’t think I tracked down Tintin in the Land of the Soviets – Tintin books when I was young, but I’d never read one of Herge’s other books before, so this was a delight. It has all the Herge virtues of humour, characterisation and keen observation, but something I saw as an adult, which I would have missed as a child, was its comfortable position of European, notably Enlightenment, cultural superiority over Asian, specifically Indian, cultures. Actually, despite being half Asian, I didn’t mind this a bit; it came as a bracing blast of self confidence, although of course the current Western cultural cringe is just as mired in self superiority, it just doesn’t realise it; now, all the world’s problems are the result of Western actions (an attitude memorably exemplified in a Guardian article on Jamaican attitudes titled ‘Their Homophobia is Our Fault’ – can’t non-Westerners do anything on their own, even be prejudiced?). So, thoroughly enjoyable.