The Magician's Book

The Magician's Book

A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia

Book - 2008
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'The Magician's Book' is the story of one reader's long, tumultuous relationship with C.S. Lewis's 'The Chronicles of Narnia'. Enchanted by its fantastic world as a child, prominent critic Laura Miller returns to the series as an adult to uncover the source of these small books' mysterious power by looking at their creator.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780316017633
Branch Call Number: 823.912 LEWIS
Characteristics: viii, 311 pages cm


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Apr 08, 2019

I grew up with Narnia. It was mother's favorite series, and she read it to me and then I re-read it by myself. I also grew up evangelical Christian and went to Wheaton College (the Harvard of Christian colleges), where C.S. Lewis is as close to a protestant saint as you can get. Salon's Laura Miller also grew up loving the Narnia books without really being aware of their Christian content. In "The Magician's Book," she revisits them as a non-religious adult, as well as the life of Lewis, a professor, prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction, including books on Christianity, and friend of fellow professor and fantasy writer, J.R.R. Tolkein. She is torn, as I'm sure many adult readers are, between her childhood love of the books and her disapproval of the moralizing, religious message (Aslan= Jesus), and sometimes insensitive treatment of race and gender. She captures this tension with wit and nuance and whatever faults she finds with Lewis, she cannot quite abandon Narnia. She also interviews other readers of the series, including other fantasy authors like Neil Gaman and Philip Pullman, perhaps the most outspoken critic of Lewis. An engaging and insightful treatment of an iconic, beloved series.

Mark_Daly Aug 12, 2013

Comprehensive, but still breezy, lit-crit examination of the Narnia books. Forthrightly addresses the many problems of the series, while still conveying a somewhat befuddled affection for it. Perhaps many readers can recall a kind of shocked awakening when they first realized the religiosity, sexism, racism, etc. embedded in this childhood favorite. Which raises the question: Why do so many of us still yearn to visit Narnia? (My own theory is that the secret sauce of the books is Lewis's debt to Evelyn Nesbit and his desire to emulate her style.) As a bonus, there's loads of trivia in here for Narnia devotees.


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