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5.0 out of 5 stars
Merely genius, 2 May 2013
An excellent, albeit realistic and honest, assessment of the continuing appeal of C S Lewis on both sides of the Atlantic. Why, today, despite the slightly dated feel to the books, do the Narnia tales remain one of the best loved series of children's books ? McGrath sets the books in the cultural contexts, both then when they were written, and now. He also looks at the various attempts to identify the binding motif behind the books and reviews recent fascinating ( and persuasive ) theories relating them to themes found in medieval literature.
The driving motif behind all his 'popular' writings, both his children's stories and his apologetic books, was of course his Christian faith.
McGrath's book helps us to understand how that faith lay behind and fed his various writings, including of course his so-called apologetic essays, books and radio talks. Lewis' genius lay not in his academic prowess ( even though of course he was a leading authority in his field of medieval and renaissance English literature ) but in his remarkable ability to communicate at a popular level. Not that his academic life was an uneventful backdrop to the life of one of the country's better known broadcasters and writers. We are also taken through the frustrations in his academic career, set against the detailed background of life in mid century Oxford ( and latterly Cambridge ) academia. The biography also tracks his home life which was far from conventional and brought Lewis of course much grief.
Lewis remains a good read for Christians today. This biography is a worthy new and insightful assessment and appraisal of his continuing appeal and relevance.