Jay Daze's Reviews > Magician's Book

Magician's Book by Laura Miller
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's review
Jul 05, 12

bookshelves: ebook, fantasy, biography-and-autobiography, female-author, non-fiction, literary-critism
Read from May 20 to July 05, 2012

I rate this book highly, even though there were sections that bored me (some of the back and forth with Tolkien) and other sections that irked me. When Miller engaged with Lewis' fantasy as someone who isn't particularly Christian, but still draws great power from the language and imagination of his books, the Magician's Book was an inspiring book - her exploration of the Chronicles of Narnia became my discovery. Other sections where Miller engages in that dry deconstruction of Lewis as a man and a Christian, the book falls down into the common tropes of English major essay cranking. These sections seem to be of one author, at one time and one place in history, looking down and condescending to another author at another time and place in history - it just doesn't feel that much of value is coming out of that. But when Miller lets go of the box ticking and just sinks down into the work - she really helps amplify and conjure the world that Lewis created.

The strongest comment on Lewis' work for me has to be the works that the chronicles have inspired, either negatively or positively. I picked up the Magician's Book after reading Lev Grossman's The Magicians. And Phillip Pullman is quoted quite a few times within the book. Both of their stories are highly original replies to Lewis. Miller's book was valuable to me as someone who is an atheist, yet still glories in the root metaphor, symbol and narrative of a work that formed my childhood. I going to re-read Lewis and this book has helped me on my way.

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Reading Progress

25.0% "She quotes Carol J Clover, from her book "Men, Women, and Chainsaws: "The Final Girl is...a congenial double for the adolescent male." Providing an "identificatory buffer," the Final Girl allows the men in the audience to experience vicariously "taboo" sensations like fear and vulnerability without shame." Cool theory!"

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