Fantastic. Poses some really fascinating questions about the relationship between art and reality, the nature of evil and the dangers of aestheticism....moreFantastic. Poses some really fascinating questions about the relationship between art and reality, the nature of evil and the dangers of aestheticism. It is not only a searing critique of fin-de-siecle London society, but a genuinely chilling descent into the depths of human corruption and depravity. The scene in the opium den was particularly horrifying. Also, there's plenty of Oscar Wilde wit in the form of Lord Henry Wotton, who speaks almost entirely in epigrams (which gets a little wearing after a while, I admit). (less)
This is the book to read if you want to understand the Irish Question, and the fact that there really was no answer to it. I read it when studying 19t...moreThis is the book to read if you want to understand the Irish Question, and the fact that there really was no answer to it. I read it when studying 19th century British political history, mainly from the perspectives of Peel, Gladstone, Disraeli, all the key players in English politics, but this novel really gave me a deep insight into the perspectives of the Irish Catholics, the Irish Protestants and the Anglo-Irish aristocracy. It's not about 'the evil English' vs the poor, oppressed Irish; that's a simplistic reading that completely misses the point. The problems of Ireland were a hopelessly tangled web for which there were no easy solutions. The divisive effects of religion were paramount, for example. But this is also fundamentally a novel about individual lives and how they were affected by the wider political and economic turmoil. Trinity is not a history book by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, it's mostly fictional, despite being embedded in an historical framework. More importantly though, the human experience is central, and it is moving and inspiring, bleak and glorious in equal measures. An involved and complicated plot with a plethora of characters and a vast, sprawling scope; Trinity is a novel that squares up to one of the most baffling political problems of modern British history and makes it human.(less)
I read this when I was little (I would guess about 7, 8 or 9), and I didn't pick up on all the Christianity references, despite them being SO overt. W...moreI read this when I was little (I would guess about 7, 8 or 9), and I didn't pick up on all the Christianity references, despite them being SO overt. What I did feel was astonishment that the children all loved Aslan so much, when I thought he was massively sanctimonious and sickening as a character. I could not stand that lion. I didn't want the Snow Queen to win exactly, I didn't like her either... but at the same time I wanted someone to show the lion up, or force him to do something INTERESTING that would show he wasn't an unmitigating goody-goody. Aslan was just... ugh, completely two dimensional in his perfection, and so smug and arrogant. He was unbearable. I enjoyed the fantasy, but the element that I now realise (and am astonished that I ever didn't realise) is the Christian allegory made me scornful of the character who was supposed to be the supreme 'goody' and left a bitter taste in my mouth that ultimately ruined it. I enjoyed other books in the series more, some more than others (enjoyment increased exponentially as Aslan's involvement decreased), but this one was the worst.(less)
I read this for the first time when I was about eleven and I nearly died laughing. It still makes me cry with laughter if I try and read it aloud. If...moreI read this for the first time when I was about eleven and I nearly died laughing. It still makes me cry with laughter if I try and read it aloud. If you think this is funny, track down the whole story:
"Once, twice and thrice upon a time there lived a Jungle. It started at the bottom and went upwards till it reached the monkeys, who had been waiting years for the trees to reach them, and as soon as they did the monkeys invented climbing down. Most trees were made of wood, and so were the rest. Trees never spoke, not even to each other, so they never said much (actually one tree did once say "much" but nobody believed him), they never said "fish" either, not even on Fridays. It was a really good Jungle: great scarlet lilies, yellow irises, thousands of grasses all grew very happily, and this Jungle was always on time. Some people are always late, like the late King George V. But not this Jungle.
This Jungle became very, very popular with lots of wonderful animals; there was absolutely no shortage of them and therefore the Jungle was ever so busy. This Jungle was called the Bozzollika-Dowser Jungle. Because. There was no organization there, but everything worked out perfectly. Some scientists tried to make an organized Jungle of plastic, but it didn't improve conditions and the scientists left saying, "Let's go to the moon instead," and as there is nothing on the moon it seemed the best place for them. Men kept coming to the Jungle looking for gold, diamonds, gas and oil. Whereas simple animals could live without the things, brilliant man couldn't, in fact he'd forgotten how to. One thing he never forgot was how to have wars and say, "Oh dear, how sad," when children were killed by bombs. The animals left these things called men alone. In return for this kindness man killed them, cut off their skins and put them on the floor; cut their heads off and stuck them on the walls. But if ever an animal killed a man, it was in all the newspapers.
But this story is a hap-hap-happy story, about animals..."(less)