I'll have to hold off on a real review. Suffice it to say for now that this is an incredible book.
I'm not a minister but I'd guess that every chapter...moreI'll have to hold off on a real review. Suffice it to say for now that this is an incredible book.
I'm not a minister but I'd guess that every chapter could easily provide enough ideas for at least one sermon each. The author has a penetrating insight into the place of Old Testament law in the life of the Christian.
While some of the author's remarks refer to American culture as it was in the mid-1950's the book isn't really dated at all. In fact some of it probably fits today's world even better than it did the era in which the author write.
There are few modern novels that have made me look at the face in the mirror as deeply as has Lewis's Till We Have Faces. As Orual tells her story the...moreThere are few modern novels that have made me look at the face in the mirror as deeply as has Lewis's Till We Have Faces. As Orual tells her story the book plumbs the uttermost depths of her character and motivation, revealing that she herself is responsible for much of her own hurt. The story's remarkable final chapters bring her an unexpected and spiritually transforming redemption.
A number of times, when I myself have felt bitterness and hurt, I've found that reading or even recalling this story have helped me confront myself, be healed, and move on.
Rather than the overtly or symbolically Christian worlds in which Lewis set much of his other fiction, Orual's story takes place midst a landscape from which Christ is apparently absent, somewhere a little outside the border of the pre-Christian classical Mediterranean civilization.
Those who might stumble over the explicit Christian themes present in Lewis's other work may find this easier going. Nevertheless, at its roots this is a deeply Christian work. In subtlety of theme and darkness of tone this is the most un-Lewis like of his novels, yet underlying it is the most Lewis-like current of redemptive truth.(less)
Here is a review that I posted on Amazon.com in Dec. 2004:
"I am rereading this book after a number of years, having first read it some time in the mid...moreHere is a review that I posted on Amazon.com in Dec. 2004:
"I am rereading this book after a number of years, having first read it some time in the mid 1970's. Again I find that it is one of those books that changes how one thinks about things, and a work that can be appreciated on multiple levels.
First, it can change one's view of what's possible within the genre of science fiction. It impressively weaves a tapestry from such diverse threads as music, mathematics, classic American literature, philosophy, psychology, and sheer imagination, just to name a few. To a degree I've seldom seen equaled, the combination of these elements after all these years still create in me a sense of wonder at the grandness and richness of Creation. Anthony's work here is truly a microcosmic reflection of the very universe of which he writes.
That leads into something else I've kept noticing on this re-reading. I've been constantly struck by way the story suggests the interrelationship of things ranging from tiny (like the macron particle) to immense (like the universe); and by the synergy possible between people with diverse and seemingly disparate gifts. Ranging from the "ordinary" Beatrix to the "super-genius" Schön, each of the central characters is vital to the story, though each stands out as truly individual. The plot shows each of these characters as vital to the group's success, despite what appear to be huge differences in intellectual or personal development.
The "hard" science fiction elements at first glance today might appear a bit dated, given a nomenclature that dates from the late 1960's. But then hard science and technology are not really central themes of this novel. These elements of the story are for me a necessary "window dressing" arrayed around more central themes like personal responsibility, the grandness of the Universe, and interpersonal dynamics. In that respect it's easy to overlook the book's roots in the technology of the 1960's."(less)
The plot was entertaining and moved quickly though a bit far fetched, and for me failed to generate a "willing suspension of disbelief" or to create t...moreThe plot was entertaining and moved quickly though a bit far fetched, and for me failed to generate a "willing suspension of disbelief" or to create the fascination with its subject matter or characters that have to be present to make such a story impressive. The whole story line about monatomic gold, m state superconductors, alchemy, etc., is otherwise just a little too "out there."
Throughout the book I was constantly reminded of Lester Dent & Co.'s pulp magazine Doc Savage stories. And not of their best features.
I thought the book was fun reading but not worth hanging on to. I'm not especially likely to pick up another James Robbins work unless it's free.(less)
Being unaccustomed to Woolf's stream of consciousness narrative style, I was uncertain at first that I would really enjoy To The Lighthouse. The frequ...moreBeing unaccustomed to Woolf's stream of consciousness narrative style, I was uncertain at first that I would really enjoy To The Lighthouse. The frequent and often "unobvious" changes in point of view, and the constantly shifting processes of thought and emotion of the characters, at first had me thinking it would be a bit tedious to read through.
My opinion improved gradually as I read on through the first section, "The Window". By the time I reached the second section, "Time Passes", I knew I was reading great literature. This short, ethereal, almost eerie chapter won me over completely, and by the end of the book I knew I'd found something to be read again many times.
It may take another reading or two before I'm ready to write a proper review. To The Lighthouse left me filled with the many moods of its characters, and with much to ponder.(less)
**spoiler alert** A fascinating and disturbing story told in an unusual manner, but compared to the author's _The Book of Air and Shadows_ a bit of a...more**spoiler alert** A fascinating and disturbing story told in an unusual manner, but compared to the author's _The Book of Air and Shadows_ a bit of a disappointment--not on a literary critical level, but with respect to personal taste.
*** BEGIN SEMI-SPOILER *** _The Forgery of Venus_ is very much a one-man story--or maybe a two man story, if you count the artist Diego Velazquez and the narrative letter writer Chaz Wilmot as different persons. It's increasingly hard to tell which is which as one progresses through the book. This intentional on the author's part, and proves a very effective tool in creating the strange world. *** END SEMI-SPOILER ***
Perhaps this wasn't the sort of book I wanted to read immediately after _Air and Shadow_. Who knows? Maybe I'll rate it a star higher next time.