Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lilith” as Want to Read:
Lilith
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Lilith

by
3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,992 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Lilith, written by the father of fantasy literature, George MacDonald, was first published in 1895. Its importance was recognized in its later revival in paperback by Ballantine Books as the fifth volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in September, 1969. Lilith is considered among the darkest of MacDonald's works, and among the most profound. It is a sto ...more
Paperback, 252 pages
Published 1982 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Michigan (first published November 27th 1895)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Mike (the Paladin)
I was torn between 4 and 5 for this one(at first). I love it in many ways and give it 5 stars. Some will probably find it a little harder to read but that's more due to the time in which it is written and it's slightly dated style. I'm not sure that "relax" is the right word here but "relax" into the book and "experience it". This book is in my opinion amazing. I got it out of the library and still would like to find a copy available locally.

Great book.

UPDATE:

I have since bought the book. It ha
...more
Mark Becher
Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
As my brother accurately described it, it starts out as a sort of Christian acid trip/Alice in Wonderland type experience. For the first half of the book you have almost no idea what is actually going on, but it's worth sticking it through because later it all falls into place. The story takes it's premise from an old Jewish myth about a companion named Lilith whom God gave to Adam before Eve. She was an angelic being, not human, and couldn't reconcile herself to the vocation of bearing Adam's ...more
Fergus
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was 3, my wonderful grandmother visited our little postwar stucco bungalow out on the fringes of our little former lumber town.

My grandmother believed in magic - White Magic. Back then she was like a Fairy Grandmother to me.

One day, she took me by the hand and led me down to our unfinished basement. All she said to me was - ‘Today we’re going to visit the Zoo...’

For she somehow had transformed our little subterranean space - cluttered with bric-à-brac - by her very words, into a magical a
...more
Danielle
Apr 12, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Danielle by: Tanya
I have an enormous respect for George MacDonald. His books such as At the Back of the North Wind, The Princess and Curdie, The Princess and the Goblin, The Day Boy and the Night Girl and even Alec Forbes and His Friend Annie were among my childhood favorites--they were magical and my first brushes with fantasy at 8-10 years old. He was an exceptionally gifted and inspired writer of the 1800's. I even respect his history as a clergyman who loved god but left off being a preacher because he believ ...more
Dylan Jay Smith
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far one of the darkest books I've ever read. Coming from a Christian minister, I would expect the book to be a bit preachy. I found, however, that the story is way more of a dark fairy tale set in a somewhat biblical world, with faint biblical themes. It's hard, of course, not to be a bit biblical, considering some of the main characters are Adam, Eve, and Lilith (the first wife of Adam). MacDonald writes this story in a way that truly makes them characters in a book, rather than bibl ...more
Karly Noelle Noelle
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
George MacDonald is one of the most severely underrated authors of all time. A contemporary to Lewis Caroll and major influence on C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, this man’s imagination apparently knew no bounds and that is incredibly apparent in his masterpiece, Lilith. Narrated by a nameless everyman figure, it follows his adventures in a world he discovers after inheriting his father’s house and many unsettling circumstances there, leading him to a mirror which reveals another realm. Incredibl ...more
Dean
May 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written as a fantasy novel with much spiritual wisdom and insight;
George MacDonal in his companion of "phantastes", again achieved to render with "Lilith" a remarkable piece of literature which will hunt relentlessly your dreams and don't have mercy for the boundaries of your imagination!!!!

In brief a few words about MacDonal himself: A poet, Scottish author and a Christian minister.
he lived from 10 December 1824 to 18 September 1905....
A prolific writer and after an exciting and eventful life w
...more
Meg Powers
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book to read after David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus. Both deal with fantastic travel (Lilith with inter-dimensional travel, Arcturus with inter-planetary travel) as a means of religious and spiritual discovery. Both drag you on a harrowing journey, where many questions go unanswered. Lilith, however, is blatantly Christian. It is fun to read a fantasy novel that illustrates the milestones of Christianity, particularly Creation and the Resurrection, using quirky versio ...more
Christopher Bunn
I'm a fan of George MacDonald for his fantasies and for his children's books. His two older fantasies, Lilith and Phantases, are difficult to read and they're difficult to pigeon-hole. But why do we even want to pigeon-hole things in the first place? Oh, right. Marketing.

Anyway, like I said, Lilith is not the easiest book to read. Perhaps it's partially due to the era MacDonald was writing in, but he certainly isn't pandering to the lowest denominator here. The story is a haunting tale of a man
...more
Amanda G. Stevens
What to say about this book? Well, it's the darker companion to Phantastes. It's an immersive fantasy dream-experience that transcends plot (though it has one). It's a Christian exhortation to the reader: die to self if you would live forever. It is by turns odd, humorous, witty, sweet, downright chilling, and glorious. It's often a blend of The Pilgrim's Progress and Alice in Wonderland, but I love it more than both those books put together.

Lilith begins as a man called Vane steps through a mi
...more
Veronica
Jul 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'A long time we were together, I and the moon, walking side by side, she the dull shine, and I the live shadow.'


I didn't like Lilith the first time I read it, despite being a big fan of MacDonald (and the people he influenced, like CS Lewis & Tolkien), but over the years as I have read it and read it again it has become one of my favorite books. Do not make the mistake of trying to understand each nuance- that would be like trying to understand all the symbolism of a Salvador Dali painting.
...more
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Mar 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Odd.

MacDonald seems to discover the story he wanted to tell partway through, which caused a sensation of discontinuity between the story I thought I was reading and the story I turned out to be reading, ten or twenty chapters in.

Some hopes the early chapters inspired were not fulfilled by the later chapters.

Some horrors sprang upon me, unexpected (but not unwelcome) in an otherwise whimsical book.

Don't read MacDonald for his plots or his writing style. Read him for his characters, the curiosity
...more
Φλεγύας
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcase
This is one of these books that I -personally- would classify as solid 5/5.
I only gave it a 4/5 for a single reason. MacDonald is not a typical writer. He was a priest, or, in the words of Wikipedia, a Christian minister.
Why's that of importance? Because, the folk and the shepherds may use the same language, but not in the same way.
The reader of this magnificent, allegoric, deeply religious fairytale will need to arm himself/herself with tons of good will to push onwards when the sentences becom
...more
Brian Robbins
The second of MacDonald's adult fiction I've read. I come to them via C S Lewis's enthusiasm for his writings.

It's been said of Lewis, as writer, teacher & a conversationalist, that his own love & enthusiasm for certain books & authors could be infectious & send readers & listeners away eager to read works which then proved to be disappointing to them, wondering what he saw in them.

This is partly true of my response to "Lilith". There are many weaknesses in the plot & sty
...more
M.
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George MacDonald stands apart singularly in my reading experiences. C.S. Lewis said that every page he wrote plagiarized MacDonald's ideas, and also admitted that MacDonald was not a great writer in the quality of his prose. I agree fully on the later and see his point with the former.

In his favor, MacDonald's adult fantasy work is great reading because he has the most distinctly confident and original ideas for myths that I have ever read. His fantastic worlds are wholly original and inspired.
...more
Jenna
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is perhaps my favorite book of all time. It does not get enough good press. It is definitely MacDonald's magnum opus. I would recommend it to all fantasy-lovers and readers just looking for something refreshingly different. Like most of George MacDonald's work, Lilith does have strong religious undertones, but they are presented in a unique way that I don't believe will offend or even distract non-religious readers. The religious content is comparable to that in the works of CS Lewis. I pro ...more
John
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
MacDonald was a big influence on C.S. Lewis, as many know. Lewis acknowledges this in the preface to this edition. MacDonald was a universalist, which is quite apparent in reading Lilith. The entire premise of the book requires one to enter a world where universalism is presupposed. Universalism, at least the MacDonald version of it, believes that all people will eventually bow the knee to Christ in faith, repent, believe, and enter into the New Heavens and the New Earth. MacDonald even argues t ...more
Hope
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Not since studying Flannery O'Connor have I read anything so bewildering and mesmerizing at the same time. But with O'Connor I had a college professor explaining some of the most confusing images.

George MacDonald does a masterful job of weaving important themes into this fantasy novel: life, death, sin, redemption, dreams and reality, but I was often confused with the symbolism. What did the white leopard represent? the spotted leopard? the white princess? the shadow? the children? Occasionally
...more
Amanda
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much, much preachier and more metaphysical than Phantastes, this MacDonald fantasy appealed less to me but still kept me reading so that I finished all 250 pages in one sitting. In this book, MacDonald's love affair with death gets even heavier and creepier. He also seems to be making a commentary on the danger of the "New Woman," who willfully abandoned the role of "Angel in the House" at the turn of the century. The moments wherein he becomes wrapped up in the world-building aspect of the fant ...more
Ralph
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is as difficult as people say it is, but I found it worth the effort. C. S. Lewis's introduction was a big help to me in getting into the book, and you can recognize in it many places that are reflected in Lewis' own writings. The evangelism of Lilith was perhaps the most remarkable and illuminating description I've ever read of the struggle of a person to come to faith.
Raina
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, faeries
Groundbreaking fantasy - one of the first books I want to reread when I retire. Read it as part of an Inklings research project at the Oregon Extension. Part of my paradigm shift and brain remolding.
Theresa Magario
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with brains
Shelves: have-read
Christian fantasy stories DO include sexy, undying, shape-shifting, blood-drinking, women!
Jeslyn
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third novel I've read by George MacDonald, the first being The Princess and The Goblin, sort of a young-adult novel, which was wonderfully written. I then started searching out other titles and now have a little collection.

Frankly, I was a bit worried in the beginning - it started very reminiscent of Phantastes, and was loaded with exclamation points, which seemed odd...but don't be fooled: the story picks up in a hurry, and is an excellent read. MacDonald's imaginings of the world
...more
David
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
George Macdonald certainly had an imagination. This book takes the reader on a journey, alongside Mr. Vane, similar in some ways to other journey stories from MacDonald's own Phantastes to Pilgrims Progress or The Hobbit. Aren't all these stories similar - leaving home, entering the unknown, learning about yourself and the world, finding redemption.

I find MacDonald in this book, like Phantastes, somewhat difficult to read. Perhaps it is that the style is so different from later fantasy a la Tol
...more
Kj
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Incandescent and blazingly truthful, George MacDonald's 1895 fantasy on Life after life, is not just a book, its a portal. To what end that portal leads, I will leave the reader to discover for themself. As the author C.S. Lewis credits as having "baptized his imagination," MacDonald's influence on the creation of Narnia is not difficult to locate in "Lillith". Likewise, I can only assume that J.M. Barrie, a fellow Scotsman, was influenced by MacDonald's writing as he formed his Never-land chara ...more
Paul
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times beautiful and others frustrating, this somewhat overly long book takes you through a rollercoaster of emotions both through the characters in the story and in the reading of that story. The story is one of a man who stumbles into another world, a purgatory. He stumbles through this world with guidance from a host of extravagantly imagined characters; a man who is also a raven who is also Adam, perpetually young children, a tormented evil half leopard half woman princess... etc... MacDon ...more
K.D.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is my third journey through George MacDonald's 'Lilith' (most recently in the form of an audio book) and it just gets better and better each time I visit the mysterious world through which Mr. Vane traverses, and the characters and personages he encounters there. Each time I've read it I've I've learned something about myself, for good and bad, and its the highest form of praise for a book and author when you can say that the book is not only great reading, but that it changes your life to ...more
Emma
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
A friend of mine often referred to MacDonald as her favorite author, but for whatever reason, I never tried any of his books until now. I was actually looking for free and decently narrated audiobooks on Librivox. I say decently, because these books are narrated by volunteers, and some days, I have had a hard time finding something well narrated. So I tried Lilith, and oh my!

What a book! The blurb below says how he influenced Tolkien and CS Lewis, yes! That’s the same kind of huge human and reli
...more
Jackie
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lilith is probably a prime example of why Tolkien famously disliked allegory. The book wavers between stretches of tedious exposition and somewhat ridiculous plot interwoven with achingly beautiful scenes and haunting imagery. The themes of death and paradise are heavy stuff, and for me they don't always merge comfortably with their corresponding story elements. (although maybe that's the point?) I'm torn between three and four stars, but bumping it upward because its beauty and power outweigh t ...more
Steve Douglas
Jan 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the tail of At the Back of the North Wind, I found this book and read it in high school, and although I recognized it as very interesting and impressive emotionally, I was too confused to get much out of it. When I picked it up again last year for a more mature read-through, it was because in many subtle ways I realized it had never left me. I thoroughly enjoyed it in my second reading and count it among my favorite books of all.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
George MacDonald: Questions about Lilith 2 43 Dec 30, 2016 05:05PM  
Lilith Review 2 12 May 19, 2015 06:06PM  
  • The Wood Beyond the World
  • Descent into Hell
  • Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories
  • The Book of Wonder
  • The Lost Continent: The Story of Atlantis
  • The Ball and the Cross
  • Undine
  • Figures of Earth
  • The Book of the Dun Cow (Chauntecleer the Rooster, #1)
  • The Worm Ouroboros
1,394 followers
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

He was educated at Aberdeen University and after a short and stormy career as a minister at Arundel, where his unorthodox views led to his dismissal, he turned to fiction as a means of earning a living. He wrote over 50 books.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, MacDonald inspired many authors, such
...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“A man is as free as he chooses to make himself, never an atom freer.” 76 likes
“Whose work is it but your own to open your eyes? But indeed the business of the universe is to make such a fool out of you that you will know yourself for one, and begin to be wise.” 61 likes
More quotes…