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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Magician's Nephew

By C.S. Lewis

I've read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and watched two different movie versions, but that was my only dip into the world of Narnia, until now. My daughter Katie has read all the books and has encouraged me for years to do the same.

She informs me that even though this was not the first one Lewis wrote, it is the first in the series. I enjoyed it every bit as much as The Lion... C.S. Lewis figured out so many beautiful truths about good and evil after his passage through atheism. What a brilliant mind and soul he had. On top of those gifts, he has the ability to write beautiful stories filled with symbolic allegories.

Uncle Andrew is the magician who gives his nephew Digory this sound nugget of advice.
"Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed."

The story is about the adventures of Digory, Polly and a few people touching them as they slipped on the magic rings that took them to the land of Narnia. Oh, and the horse. We learn the origins of the evil witch/queen Jadis who we meet again in The Lion...

There's a very funny scene when the animals of Narnia try to decide what Uncle Andrew is. "There!" said several voices. "It isn't an animal at all. It's not alive."
"I tell you, it is an animal," said the Bulldog. "Smell it for yourself."
"Smelling isn't everything," said the Elephant.
"Why," said the Bulldog, "if a fellow can't trust his nose, what is he to trust?"
"Well, his brains perhaps," she replied mildly.
They finally decide he is a tree and try to plant him head down. The discussion is funny because at this point Uncle Andrew is not much of a hero figure.

I like this passage that gives hope to those who have met or know of Aslan. "If ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just around some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well."

This is excellent YA/children/adult literature. Next in line will be a rereading of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

17 comments:

Chris said...

Great review! I must say I do love me some C.S. Lewis. Have you read any of his other books outside of the Narnia series?

booklogged said...

Chris, I've only read Surprised by Joy and The Screwtape Letters. Both very good. What of his do you recommend?

Cardine said...

I love this series. The symbolism is fantastic!

Arukiyomi said...

Now this, along with The Last Battle are my two favourite books in the series but so often forgotten or ignored by readers in favour of the Wardrobe.

For more great Lewis I'd recommend:
Til We Have Faces
The Great Divorce
Pilgrim's Regress
The Problem of Pain
Mere Christianity
Surprised by Joy

... for starters!

hellomelissa said...

i have a big, fat, hardcover book with all the narnia put together. it's one of my prized posessions.

Colleen Gleason said...

I loved this book too. I just loved how he took the whole creation story and made it his own.

One of my fave Narnia books is The Silver Chair, so it you haven't read it, you need to put that on the list!

Stephanie said...

How bad is it that I have NEVER read any of the books in this series?? I really need to!

Agapetospaidiske said...

That is my favorite of the Narnia series. I love to read prequels and get the back story.

Natalie said...

I love the whole narnia series. They are some of my all time favs.
Re: the newberry challenge - yes, you can overlap books with other challenges. I would die if I couldn't.

Melissa said...

Ah, Narnia. My husband is totally protective of the set we have, mostly because it's in the RIGHT order, with The Magician's Nephew at #6, not #1. Sigh. When the copyright lapsed, the publishers re-ordered it, but I still feel that you need to read Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe first before anything else.

It's been much too long since I read these myself, but my daughter loves them. I think her favorites are Prince Caspian and The Silver Chair.

Chris said...

The only other one I've read is The Screwtape Letters. I loved it. I have The Four Loves, but haven't read it. I've heard great reviews of it though!

Framed said...

I just got this book along with "The Lion, etc." and "The Horse and His Boy." The cover isn't nearly as wonderful as yours though.

booklogged said...

Framed, your comment about the cover made me investigate it more. I got the picture from an image search. This is the copy of an audio book narrated by Claire Bloom. I would like to own all the books in the series with this cover, but so far am not finding it.

My copy is one large edition with the books in chronological order, which is the WRONG order according to Melissa's husband. Teehee! I think I'm going to like reading them in chronological order.

Melanie said...

The Magician's Nephew is my favourite in this series. This and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are the only ones I've read repeatedly. I'm glad you liked it too.

Quixotic said...

Great review. Love Narnia - it has been too long since I read the books though. I should probably rectify that!

The Traveller said...

I've read all the Narnia books at least three times - I love them! Especially Strawberry in The Magician's Nephew. He always seemed like such a sensible horse! I did detest Digory though. He deserved everything he got, really.

dayton said...

"My husband is totally protective of the set we have, mostly because it's in the RIGHT order, with The Magician's Nephew at #6, not #1. Sigh. When the copyright lapsed, the publishers re-ordered it, but I still feel that you need to read Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe first before anything else."

Melissa, I TOTALLY agree with you 110%. I still have my original set of books that I got when I was seven and they are in the correct order. I was so upset when I saw they had been put in chronological order. This totally defeats the point of the prequel idea and the obliterates the intrigue of getting the back story on Narnia and the wardrobe and the lamp post etc. Thus, brilliant literary technique is rendered dead in the water. If The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe wasn't supposed to be first then why did Disney make that one into the first movie? Anyway, I was really glad to see that I'm not only one who feels this way. C.S. Lewis is probably one of if not my favorite author of all time.