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The Singer

(Singer Trilogy #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  748 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Calvin Miller retells the story of Christ in this heartwarming allegorical poem.
Paperback, 151 pages
Published January 1st 1975 by InterVarsity Press
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  748 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Tremendously beautiful! 😊
Kay Smith
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I think the worst thing this book did to itself was compare its unique storytelling to JRR Tolkien & CS Lewis. It is not of the same caliber.

But the book does start off well; its description is the focus and the story is almost an afterthought. I loved it.
But then I got a few chapters in, and the lyrical tale wasn't as well written. I felt like the beginning was amazingly deep and poignant; but I felt like rest was rushed, and the story became more literal than figurative.

This is an allego
Jan 06, 2009 added it
I asked my husband for this book as a gift after I read a simple quote of Calvin Miller's in a book by Max Lucado. His writing is unique and poignant. When I saw the cover of this book and glanced through the poetic pages, I thought it would be one I had to force my way through. However, it is an amazing book, worth every second. I was in tears multiple times feeling and "watching" the Jesus of the Scripture and the God of universe and the Holy Spirit of God walk through the incomparable story o ...more
Jeff Crosby
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book more than 30 years ago, and just re-read it for the first time, with great enjoyment. In the intervening years, the late Calvin Miller became a dear friend as we worked on several books together. "The Singer" is an artful allegorical poem that does justice to the "larger story" which served as Calvin's inspiration through numerous late-night/early-morning writing sessions that gave birth to "The Singer." His is a voice in publishing and I truly miss.
Dustin Bagby
May 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Quick and enjoyable read but it lacks the subtleties of Lewis or Tolkien that made them so great.
Amani Bryant
Jan 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion, poetry
The first chapter of this book is the most compelling call to create, to create beautiful things, to not hold back one's creativity for fear of anything. It made me want to pull out my charcoals and find a model. It made me want to dance. It made me want to sing. The call is direct and powerful.

If the whole book was like this, I would have given it 5 stars. But as I continued, I felt that while creative and beautiful, the Christ-life allegory was almost too strong. I *LIKE* this retelling, this
This excitingly poetic allegory of the life of Christ by Calvin Miller started out very beautiful, but didn't live up to its expectations. This is not because of its beautiful poetic language that Miller put on paper. My main disappointment was with the in-your-face nature of the allegory. Though it started subtle and engaging, it soon is no more than a quite literal retelling of important events in the life of Jesus, only with some of the elements replaced by more allegorical elements that are ...more
Carol Caldwell
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's poetic prose, an allegory of Christ. It is beautifully written. It reminded me a little of Tolkien's Silmarillian in the song of creation. I love the words Miller uses for God: Earthmaker and Father-Spirit. The song singer is called Troubadour. It's a short read. It moves fast and carries the reader along. If you are familiar with the New Testament, you will recognize the few characters in the story. If you aren't familiar with the New Testament, you are in for a great surprise!
Apr 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian
I was expecting a creative allegory, but I was disappointed. The book didn't surprise me as I hoped it would. Most importantly, every move Miller made was painfully obvious; there was no subtlety or sense of mystery and wonder. Miller took the narrative in intriguing directions, but I guess I was just hoping to be more impressed. Maybe I was expecting Lewis.
Christine Hiester
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning allegorical retelling of the gospel story.
Laura (Book Scrounger)
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars.
This is an interesting allegorical story of the gospels, written in verse. Because it's in verse it's a rather quick read. It's also fairly condensed. "The Singer" represents Jesus, while God is occasionally called "Earthmaker" and the devil is "World Hater." Quite a bit is made of the rivalry between the Singer and World Hater.

I'd agree with reviewers who think this should not be marketed as being "in the tradition of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien." It may be allegory, but Lewis and T
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Whimsical, poetic, and delightful retelling of an old, old story.

"And those who know the Ancient Star-
Song watch with singing for the
sign of footprints in the galaxies
through which the little planet
rides in routine cycles of despair.
But Joy seldom sleeps for long.
And someday in a lonely moment man-
kind will shake an unfamiliar hand
and find it wounded." p. 151

"'Some will hate you for the song you love.
They will seek to stop your singing.
But no matter how they treat you,
remember that I suffered ev
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book.

What beautiful images.

This is an allegory or prose poem written about the life and death of Christ.

A very fitting Christmas present for me.
Lynette Eby
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
In the simple poetry of his thoughts, I find profundity.
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This was good, but I didn't love it. An allegorical science-fiction verse retelling of the gospel, Miller's The Singer was very interesting. The poetry itself was pretty good; I loved the line "It rippled through Andromeda/ and deepened Vega's hues." which described the "Ancient Star-Song" of the Singer. In places, it wasn't especially poetic, particularly near the middle, but most of it was certainly well-written enough to be enjoyable. I liked some of the elements that were adapted, the prosti ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
How do I begin to tell what I think of this book? It is not as much of a book as it is a song, lyrical and poetic. The title first caught my eye when I found this for 50 cents at a thrift store. I read the book in one afternoon (it is a short, easy read) and fell in love. This is a book I wish I had written. The music analogy spoke to me so deeply.

Some favorite lines:

"The Singer scooped the frightened child into his arms. He sang and set her in the sunny fields and thrilled to watch her run. The
Oct 27, 2013 rated it liked it
This was one of the books that I read while living either in Haiti or Africa with my missionary parents. Naturally the bookshelves were full of Christian literature.

I've heard it mentioned in the same breath as C.S. Lewis or Tolkien, but it really isn't much like those books at all, in fact if you're looking for a fantasy this is not it.

Instead it's more like Jesus Christ Superstar, or Godspell--the book embodies everything about the mid-seventies Jesus movement that my parents and their peers w
Joel Zartman
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
The cadenced prose of this book is interesting and good. I do think he got a bit careless near the end, but still it holds up and over a long stretch. One notices lapses in the words used sometimes: "limpid hands" and another is the juxtaposition of vengeance and mercy. The first is a bit of imaginary meaning, but the second is an imprecision of thought.

I'm grateful to Miller for the insight that the torture before death provides into the passion narratives in Scripture. I also think the reactio
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
This is part of a trilogy called the Singer Trilogy. This one is based on the Gospels. The Song is a sequel based on the book of Acts, and lastly the Finale is based on Revelation. I picked this book up years ago. I would not have normally done so (the whole book is poetry!), but I did so because the back claims it is in the tradition of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with the other two whose books I actually enjoy reading. But, then again, it may be that I'm not l ...more
Bruce Steffensen
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this for the second time. The first was probably 30 years ago. The Singer is Calvin Miller's retelling of the gospels as an allegory. I'm sure some would critique Miller's theology, but he does a credit to the story by revealing the Troubadour's (Jesus) heart and passion. His desire is to to teach everyone The Song.

I think in literature courses we often do violence to poetry by breaking it down and analyzing it--it somehow ceases to be poetry. I think we often do the same thing with th
This book was an interesting experience. I found it for $1 at Half-Price Books, there was no description of its contents anywhere and I had no idea what it was about. So... of course I had to purchase it. I started reading it, and... surprise! It's about Jesus, God, and faith in general, which was unexpected, but made for a fascinating read. The book wasn't the best, but the poetic and simplistic manner in which it was written made it absorbing enough to propell me through the entire book withou ...more
Nancy Noble
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had heard of this book years ago, but just borrowed a copy from my friend Connie - I really loved it! Such a beautiful retelling of the old, old story - love all the allusions to singing and such. So glad I finally read this wonderful book.
James Hogan
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian, fiction, poetry
What a marvelous experience it was reading this. For multiple reasons. I first read The Singer trilogy (for yes, there are three of them!) back in the day...possibly when I was eleven or twelve? I don't quite remember, although I know I read them at Steve and Vickie's house, probably over multiple visits. These books always sat on the shelf there, and their art fascinated me and the poetry drew me in (I must confess, when I purchased these recently on a used books site, I made sure to find the o ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story of a carpenter who is called to sing the most important song of love. Unfortunately, he lives in a society where his song is new and unknown, and people who sing new songs, that aren't accepted by the Keepers of the Ancient Ways, could face death.

This is an easy to read poem that tells the story of Jesus in a different light. It's nice because it is so easy for the story of Jesus, and what it means, to become so commonplace that it loses its emotion and in turn can become just another
Isaac Bouw
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
A very interesting concept, an allegorical book written in verse mirroring the gospels. Unfortunately it can't live up to its own description, lacking the depth, thoughtful language, and subtlety of Lewis and Tolkien. Its a shame that the book has to compare it's self to the former, on the back cover. It is also a very short read because of it's poetic nature, which does not lend it's self very well to the flourishing description found in other similar works. Although I find the prose lacking, I ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this series YEARS ago and decided to revisit. It is an allegory of Christ's life, in poetic (though not rhyming form). It is beautifully written; I re-read many of the phrases. I plan to now read The Song and The Finale.
Ben G.
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
While not a perfect retelling of the NT--after all, that would have led to a much lengthier work--Miller's mythic approach to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is both invigorating and fresh.
Nefarious Overlord
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Twas a fun read. The formatting of the book was an interesting choice which suited the book. Where it went wrong was comparing itself to world renowned authors. "The Singer" is the first book in the trilogy with a simplistic story to follow, can't wait to see how the others turn out.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was given to me as a gift years ago. It unfortunately sat on my bookshelf that whole time. But this year during Lent I have been reading a lot of the Christian books I have on my shelf. I'm so sad I waited so long to read this! It is really really beautiful.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful books of poetry that I have read experienced.
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Calvin Miller has written over 40 books of popular theology and inspiration. A former pastor, he is professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He and his wife, Joyce, have two grown children.

Other books in the series

Singer Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Song
  • The Finale
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“With love that knew no fear, the Singer caught his torment, wrapped it all in song and gave it back to him as peace.” 10 likes
“The Father and his Troubadour sat down Upon the outer rim of space. "And here, My Singer," said Earthmaker, "is the crown Of all my endless skies-the green, brown sphere Of all my hopes." He reached and took the round New planet down, and held it to his ear.
"They're crying, Troubadour," he said. "They cry So hopelessly." He gave the little ball Unto his Son, who also held it by His ear. "Year after weary year they all Keep crying. They seem born to weep then die. Our new man taught them crying in the Fall.
"It is a peaceless globe. Some are sincere In desperate desire to see her freed Of her absurdity. But war is here. Men die in conflict, bathed in blood and greed."
Then with his nail he scraped the atmosphere And both of them beheld the planet bleed.
Earthmaker set earth spinning on its way And said, "Give me your vast infinity My son; I'll wrap it in a bit of clay. Then enter Terra microscopically To love the little souls who weep away Their lives." "I will," I said, "set Terra free."
And then I fell asleep and all awareness fled. I felt my very being shrinking down. My vastness ebbed away. In dwindling dread, All size decayed. The universe around Drew back. I woke upon a tiny bed Of straw in one of Terra's smaller towns.
And now the great reduction has begun: Earthmaker and his Troubadour are one. And here's the new redeeming melody--The only song that can set Terra free.
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