Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The Magician's Book by Laura Miller

The Chronicles of Narnia is a beloved classic of fantasy literature. It's also a mass of contradictions: it's both an argument for Christian spirituality and a psychosexual allegory, a hymn of childhood innocence and a dark morass of racial prejudice and male condescension. Miller plunges into this perilous literary thicket in search of a way of understanding the books that preserves their undeniable pleasures without compromising their complexity. Weaving together her own life as a reader and Clive Staples Lewis's life as, among other things, a reader, a writer, a Christian, a veteran of World War I, a friend to J.R.R. Tolkien and the partner of a woman 20 years his senior, Miller illuminates not only the Chronicles of Narnia, but the nature of reading itself.