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Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald (Illustrated) by [MacDonald, George]
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Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald (Illustrated) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 224 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1567 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ATBOCKY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #598,005 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was reminded of George MacDonald's writing by a friend on Google+, and he has been a great find. I already knew that CS Lewis acknowledged him as a major inspiration, but had not expected to find out just how large an influence he has been on modern fantasy as an entire genre.

I devoured two of his works in rapid succession - Phantastes and Lilith - and found them to have substantial differences as well as similarities. In both cases, MacDonald felt the need to devise a means for his protagonist to make the transition from the world we live in, into the particular fantasy world of the title in question. This is definitely a feature of the era, also seen in some equally inventive traveller's tales stories of the 19th century which never aspire to magic or the land of Faerie. Many modern authors would probably begin his or her story directly in the other realm, but Lewis used various devices such as the well-known Wardrobe, or the `Wood between the Worlds' to this end. For MacDonald and his contemporaries, the transition, and the relationship between the worlds, was an important ingredient.

Some of MacDonald's ideas have become so commonplace that some readers may think there is little originality in the books. Tolkien's ents are here, along with Lewis's courtly culture and virtues, and just about everyone's goblins and elves. In common with a great many other writers, the societies are basically medieval in outlook. People ride horses, fight with bladed weapons, and communicate face to face. Limited magical abilities are present, but not as learned talents for just anyone - they are an innate faculty of some beings and inaccessible to others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 75 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had to struggle at first, but very good by the end! 4 Jun. 2012
By F. Vogel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Phantastes because of the very high recommendation of C. S. Lewis. I'm surprised by the negative reviews, but if MacDonald's other books are really better than this one then I'm excited to read them, because I really liked Phantastes.

At first it was hard to get into because for a while the story seems to wander aimlessly. MacDonald describes Fairy Land beautifully, but I just didn't see any plot to connect the seemingly random events. Also, it was sometimes a chore to get through the long sections of poetry (as I'm not a big fan of poetry).

BUT at about halfway through the book, a story started to take shape, or rather, the "story" was hinted at all along, and the central struggles finally came to the surface, like love vs. possessiveness, and sacrifice. It's really a connect-the-dots kind of book, but not in the sense of a detective story: in a deeper sense of seeing the picture that MacDonald paints of the human heart, a picture that at first looks like random splotches, but then, as if we were watching the picture being painted, becomes more and more recognizable as the separate shapes are connected and finally find their meaning as a whole. MacDonald has painted not only a fairy story, but he has painted us, our own heart, in all its joy and pain.

Once I saw this, it really changed my attitude toward the book. I read the second half in one sitting! I'll definitely read it again sometime because I'm sure I missed a lot of the layers and hidden meanings.

My advice: If you're bored in the first half, just keep reading! It gets better.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautiful story, gets a beautiful treatment, the artful work is just too gorgeous 9 Feb. 2012
By SALRUNARAT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a shame that not many people know of George MacDonald, they're missing out. Whether you haven't read his stuff, or if you're a huge fan, this book is worth your money, the beautiful illustrations alone are worth your money- if you already have a copy of this story. If this is your first venture into this story, don't hesitate, get this copy if you love stories of a magical nature. If this is the first way you venture into George Macdonald, you are one lucky gun
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars whimsical, dream-like, and very intriguing 16 Oct. 2012
By Lloegyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's rare that I give a book 5-stars, but "Phantastes" definitely earned it. This is the first time I've read one of MacDonald's books, so if the others are even better I can't wait to read them!

About the book: The first half is like a beautiful, but fragmented, dream. It's difficult to see how the fragments relate to each other, or what purposes they serve. Many chapters could easily work as stand-alone short stories. In the second half, everything starts to come together. It's like piecing together a puzzle to see what picture forms at the end.

The story often becomes philosophical, but in a way that encourages individual thinking rather than promoting only the narrator's viewpoint.

Readers of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (or any other Inklings, for that matter) will probably find "Phantastes" worthwhile.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Dream-like journey through Faerie 14 May 2014
By Randal Schmidt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Do not expect to like this book if you have never felt the immortal longings of Fairyland stir in your soul. But for those who have heard the faint notes of fairy music whispering to you on some golden Midsummer twilight, they might find some enjoyment in this strange tale of a man's wandering through the fairylands.
This is not a plot-driven book. The story is simple enough. A man wanders into the mystical other world and encounters strange goings on. The plot springs from this like a dream, shifting unexpectedly and often, flowing like a river shifting and twisting in its banks. An act as simple as opening a door might bring a sudden shift in the narrative, a jump in time and place. If this lack of structure sounds unappealing, then this book is probably not for you. The story recounts the journey of Anodos through the spiritual realms of Faerie, and his triumphs and failures therein. As a reader who enjoys such fantastical journeys, I found this book to be a pleasant read.
The ending of the book was not as satisfying as I had hoped it would be, especially after the long winding road to reach it. Also, the book includes a lot of poems, verse and songs, which I find bogs down the flow of the narrative. The songs in particular, which can be quite lengthy at times, I did not like. Because they lack music, the lyrics are somewhat dead on the page. Some of these songs seemed to go on and on for pages. Tolkien showed this same irritating trait later in his works, so if you find the songs in the Lord of the Rings unappealing, then you probably won't like these.
C.S. Lewis claimed that Phantastes was the bok that baptized his imagination, and it is easy to see why. This is certainly a powerful book, and for anyone interested in the breadth of Fantasy literature (beyond Tolkien and Tolkien-deriatives), I would recommend reading this. Don't expect to find high adrenaline excitement on every page. But do expect to encounter a haunting vision of Faerie that will stick with you for a while.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful edition! 2 July 2015
By C. Blake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful book! I bought this for my girlfriend at the time because it's her favorite book and she loved it! The illustrations and how the whole book is put together is very nice!
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