Lilith

by

George MACDONALD

Book originally published in 1895

Audiobook 10:30 HOURS

Volunteer Narrator: Pete Williams (free audiobook on Librivox)

This book counts for

2011 Audio Book Challenge

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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 religious epic, built on a neat mystery starting in a library. How better can you get! It’s quite hard to review. I can only say I had no idea what I was getting into, and I felt totally swept away. It’s huge, full of symbols and fantasy elements, and you get the whole picture of the human story, with its fall and redemption. And there are great surprises along the way, when you discover who the characters stand for.

As I mentioned in my review of 1Q84, I wonder if Murakami also could have been influenced by Lilith: in both works, you find a great importance given to the moon(s) and to the “little people of the forest”. If some of you read both books, I would be most interested to know what you think.

The narrator was excellent. I have no idea if he is the famous Pete Williams, or just a very gifted volunteer. He had the perfect tone of voice for the depth and suspense of the story. I will definitely read more books by MacDonald.

And by the way, NO, it’s not a book for children.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

20th-century poet W.H. Auden said of this novel, “Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe.” The comparison only begins to touch on the richness, density & wonder of this late 19th-century adult fantasy novel. First published in 1895 (inhabiting a universe with the early Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde & Thomas Hardy), this is the story of the aptly named Mr Vane, his magical house & the journeys into another world into which it leads him. Meeting up with one mystery after another, he slowly but surely explores the mystery of humanity’s fall from grace & its redemption. Instructed into the ways of seeing the deeper realities of this world–seeing, in a sense, by the light of the spirit–the reader & Vane both sense that MacDonald writes from his own deep experience of radiance, from a bliss so profound that death’s darkness itself is utterly eclipsed in its light.–Doug Thorpe (edited) [Goodreads]

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.

Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Madeleine L’Engle. It was C.S. Lewis that wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his “master”: “Picking up a copy of Phantastes one day at a train-station bookstall, I began to read. A few hours later,” said Lewis, “I knew that I had crossed a great frontier.” G. K. Chesterton cited The Princess and the Goblin as a book that had “made a difference to my whole existence.”

Elizabeth Yates wrote of Sir Gibbie, “It moved me the way books did when, as a child, the great gates of literature began to open and first encounters with noble thoughts and utterances were unspeakably thrilling.”

Even Mark Twain, who initially disliked MacDonald, became friends with him, and there is some evidence that Twain was influenced by MacDonald.


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