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The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia Hardcover – 15 Jan 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown Book Group; 1 edition (15 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316017639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316017633
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,005,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"[Miller is] a fine writer, able to skillfully mix in references to Wordsworth and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Led Zepplin. Her ability to place Lewis and his works in a historical and personal context will entertain and illuminate even casual fans of the Narnia books."--Dallas Morning News "Jeffrey Weiss "

Book Description

The meaning and the extraordinary impact of C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia, explored by one of the finest critics writing today.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Similar to the tension with which Laura Miller loves the Narnia books but vilifies certain positions the author (C.S. Lewis) takes, I intend to do the same with this review of "The Magician's Book". :-) I liked her book immensely, but at times her unchecked political correctness mistakes good for ill (much like an overactive immune system, damaging as it seeks to serve). The reader will appreciate Miller's nod to objectivity and transparency when laying down her cards in the first chapter: "I began The Magician's Book hoping to explain not only why but how it is still possible for me to love these books, despite the biases and small-mindedness they sometimes display, despite often feeling that I wouldn't have much liked the man who wrote them". And throughout her text, she expresses the wonder with which Lewis could create the literary constructs that produced such longing and desire for otherworldly intimacy within her. While Lewis would claim that such things are written on the heart, and that God uses myths to call us to himself, Miller attempts to develop a purely humanistic rational for these desires.

Miller is at her best when distilling the various types of literary forms (allegory, metaphor, etc.), and in her exploration of Lewis's literary influences (Arthurian legends, Norse mythology, Celtic folktales, the "wildness" of faery lore, etc.). She explores many story archetypes, helps the reader identify them in other (non-Narnian) contexts, and does so in way that doesn't sacrifice any meaning or enjoyment in their reading.

She deconstructs the world views of Lewis's time and of the previous eras that shaped his ideas, but never in a way that cuts Lewis any slack.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like the author, I also suffered disillusionment with Narnia once the religious message became clear to me but was utterly enchanted by the stories as a child. Miller expertly examines why Narnia seems so real to children and revisits them as a sceptical yet admiring adult. Her exploration of Narnia as works of literature are expertly woven into a biographical understanding of Lewis (and JRR Tolikien) considering not just his emotional experiences but his academic and literary influences. I felt that the last third of the book becomes too digressive (too much focus on Coleridge and Wordsworth) but overalll a lucid, enjoyable dissection of the Narnian phenomenan.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like The Child that Books Built, this is a superb disquisition on the fascination exerted by children's books - and one series in particular, CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia (as they as now called.) Laura Miller tells us how an enlightened teacher gave her a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and how deeply it affected her - so much so that, many years later, she came to England in search of Narnia-like landscapes.

Miller's account weaves in not only valuable perceptions about what great children's books do to us, but much research into CS Lewis's other work, thoughts and influences, and also examines questions concerning religious faith. Highly recommended to all who are interested in Narnia.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Laura Miller write beautifully about why we loved Narnia, deals with the difficult areas that many people have difficulties with as adults. Anyone who dreamt of going through the wardrobe as a child will enjoy this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a shame that the cover of this book is so flimsy as the content is interesting: a popular, well-researched and well-written insight into the literary qualities of Lewis's writing and what reading means to a child. The paper cover drove me crazy. It doesn't protect the book and looks battered after a couple of reads. By the time I got to the end of the book - four reads - it was creased, bent, limp and altogether nasty looking. And I take care of my books. Really disappointing.
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