CS Lewis Said That Upon Reading This Astonishing Th Century Fairy Tale He Had Crossed A Great Frontier, And Numerous Others Both Before And Since Have Felt SimilarlyIn MacDonald S Fairy Tales, Both Those For Children And Like This One Those For Adults, The Fairy Land Clearly Represents The Spiritual World, Or Our Own World Revealed In All Of Its Depth And Meaning At Times Almost Forthrightly Allegorical, At Other Times Richly Dreamlike And Indeed Having A Close Connection To The Symbolic World Of Dreams , This Story Of A Young Man Who Finds Himself On A Long Journey Through A Land Of Fantasy Is Truly The Story Of The Spiritual Quest That Is At The Core Of His Life S Work, A Quest That Must End With The Ultimate Surrender Of The SelfThe Glory Of MacDonald S Work Is That This Surrender Is Both Hard Won Or Lost And Yet Rippling With Joy When At Last Experienced As The Narrator Says Of A Heavenly Woman In This Tale, She Knew Something Too Good To Be Told One Senses The Same Of The Author HimselfNewly Designed And Typeset In A ModernByInch Format By Waking Lion Press A friend and I decided to have family story time each evening as a new bedtime routine to help us fall asleepcalmly in the midst of interpersonal and academic stress We chose this classic tale, picked up by C.S Lewis at a train station he later said that it influenced his writing greatly it s a fabulous read aloud story because the writing is just so darn good, especially in the introductory chapters We have at least a dozen notecards with quotes from the book scattered about the room now. The first time I read this I was a newly married 18 yo My husband was taking a class at college titled Oxford Christians and I may as well have taken the class myself because I read every single life changing book Dr Kay Ludwigson assigned And of all the books by all those wonderful Inklings and hangers on, this book, Phantastes, captured my imagination and began my love of George MacDonald in a unique way I loved this book Ordo Amoris They say the brain has definite patterns of nostalgia so that they can predict your age by what you listen to on the radio I wonder if that is also true of returning to old book loves I find myself,and , returning to those old loves to see if they are still the bright baubles of my youth Phantastes still holds up George MacDonald is still a good man who writes good books and those books still make me want to be good I am not the passionate 18 yo ready to fix all things wrong any At 18 I was fascinated with the statuesque lady Perhaps I wanted to be loved like that This time around I barely noticed her I deeply understood and was encouraged by the place Anodos had to come to in order to lose his shadow, his self I long to get to that place where my shadow, my self, taps me on the shoulder and I brush her away without a thought What care I for her I finished this book up as I sat in the emergency room with my husband I was completely sheathed in my self as I hunkered there trying not to notice the horribleness of the humanity around me Yes, it seemed horrible to me Those sick, sick people I wanted to just be me sitting somewhere safe and warm drinking coffee and eating cookies, watching the hummingbirds and listening to Bach True, good, beautiful ME But George MacDonald stripped that bare and showed me what the ugliness of my own vision for my own self I had thought I had made progress in the brushing her aside but there she was in the emergency room hunkered down trying to ignore the back of the tapestry the place Christ always is The place where humanity roils and smells and writhes Christ was there even when I was trying not to be Forgive me, Father Forgive me for underestimating the sinfulness of my own self. It s like a dream You just find yourself somewhere and you wander on.Not like a quest, with a destination and obstacles along the way.No You just find yourself walking without a destinationand when you get somewhere someone was expecting you,someone who had sent you somewhere, although you don t know why or where or howand it doesn t bother you much that you don t know. I like a good faerie story, a nice romp in fairy lands I especially like reading older fantasy novels to help this graph I have in my head showing the progression and evolution of fantasy in literature MacDonald s book here, published in 1857, seemed like a good one to pick up it s an early fantasy novel with an introduction by C.S Lewis, possibly the world s first MacDonald fanboy and OMG he drooled all over MacDonald in that introduction , and this MacDonald guy inspired not only Lewis, but also Tolkien, and I like him, so.Here s something I m not always that great at, and especially right now when I m sickly ALLEGORIES I often suck at reading allegories When I read Narnia the first time I was all, Oh, hey, Aslan the lion is super cute And then I learned what Narnia and Aslan represented and I was all, No freaking way I had to read it all again to make sense of it all, and even then I was a little skeptical.I went into reading this knowing a bit about MacDonald and that he wrote these allegorical type things I was a little hesitant, but open to the idea so many of these writers like Lewis write fantastical allegories and somehow in my head I m trying to make sense of it all because that s just not how my brain works, I m too scientific or something I think there are religious stories and then there are fantasy novels, and I don t always get how they can be one and the same without likely getting into an argument with someone So it s better to just keep my mouth shut.Okay, so the story is fine, but man, it really dragged for me I don t feel it ever really picked up, and maybe that s because I knew that I was being for lack of a better word tricked by MacDonald I knew that what he was writing was not what he was saying and that made me sort of irate So I tried to put that aside and just focus on the imagery because MacDonald wrote incredible imagery But that trickery was beneath it and I couldn t get over it.Plus, there are a lot of songs Remember Tom Bombadil s songs in Tolkien Exactly.Whatever, this just didn t work for me It s not without merit, though, and clearly a lot of writers I do appreciate, respect, or even enjoy were into MacDonald I haveof his books that I will eventually read, but I m not particularly looking forward to it.Let s put it this way this book wasn t worth the overdue library fees I accrued by holding onto it longer than I should have It s just it was so short that I thought it would read faster and that was definitely not the case.You can put cheese on broccoli but it s still broccoli, y know