D.M. Dutcher 's Reviews > Lilith

Lilith by George MacDonald
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's review
Jan 30, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: christian, classic, fantasy
Read from January 27 to 30, 2012

Mr Vane comes to his father's house. While examining it's library, he finds a secret door, which leads into a mirror. That mirror is a door into a fantastic world, where the enigmatic Mr. Raven greets him. From there it's a wild, metaphysical adventure between death and life, with the ultimate fight over something that has been unresolved since the dawn of creation.

Very, very much like a Christian The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath while predating it, it's weird, often dark fantasy. And heavy, too: George Macdonald believed in what is called Christian Universalism, that Christ's sacrificial death saved everyone, and all we had to do was accept it. And over time, we would. The book is a meditation on how a Christian "dies to self"-the process of killing off what is called the old man, the false self of sin, and putting on (or in this case, waking up to) the new man of God. Who, paradoxically, is more you than the old man.

But the story is engaging on its own, and is not just bold allegory. Just one weird, striking image after another, on a mythic level. Mara (whose name means bitterness) and her white leopards, the fairylike Lovers and their elephant steeds, endless spectral balls, the cold protective light of the moon-all the images and adventures are eerie and yet so compelling. Then, at the end, it gets swept up into a grand, unifying plot which becomes sublime.

Definitely will be less stars for many, but if you are the kind of person this touches, it will be an instant classic.

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Quotes D.M. Liked

George MacDonald
“It opened a little way, and a face came into the opening. It was Lona's. It's eyes were closed, but the face itself was upon me, and seemed to see me. It was as white as Eve's, white as Mara's, but did not shine like their faces. She spoke, and her voice was like a sleepy night-wind in the grass.

"Are you coming, king?" it said. "I cannot rest until you are with me, gliding down the river to the great sea, and the beautiful dream-land. The sleepiness is full of lovely things: come and see them.”
George MacDonald, Lilith

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Kevin Hughes Wacky proto-fantasy... Hope you like it.

D.M. Dutcher I read it before, actually. I liked it better than Phantastes, and it feels almost like a Christian H.P. Lovecraft. I know as a Catholic you can't really endorse MacDonald's universalism, but I have to say Lilith is probably once of the most lucid examples of it. Lying on cold stone tables, bathed in the cold light of the healing moon. What an image.

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