I was dipping into Hergé: The Man Who Created Tintin, by Pierre Assouline (OUP, 2009). One thing Assouline says is that Tintin in Tibet is unlike any of the other books: it’s more metaphysical. Tintin doesn’t really do anything – he’s seeking someone out. Is he really seeking himself?
And maybe it almost worked. But it’s the clichéd characterisation of the Yeti that lets it down so badly – perhaps because it comes right at the end: This Yeti, gee, maybe he’s not as bad as people make out. “Now he’s alone again…” “I tell you, Tintin, from the way he took care of me, I couldn’t help wondering if, deep down, he hadn’t a human soul”. And so any metaphysical quest or message that the book has been working on is blown out by the anodyne reflections of the last two pages.