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All Hallows' Eve Paperback – November 11, 2002

45 customer reviews
Book 7 of 7 in the Aspects of Power Series

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About the Author

Charles Williams—novelist, poet, critic, dramatist and biographer—died in his native England in May, 1945. He had a lively and devoted following there and achieved a considerable reputation as a lecturer on the faculty of Oxford University. T. S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers and C. S. Lewis were among his distinguished friends and literary sponsors. He was also a member of the Inklings, a group of Christian writers that included J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Regent College Publishing (November 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781573831109
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573831109
  • ASIN: 1573831107
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Elsie Wilson on June 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This probably qualifies as the strangest book i've read all year. I was reminded of Williams by reading C.S. Lewis's letters; i had read one of his books before, "Descent into Hell" i think, and remembered the strangeness, but this really is amazing. How many other books do you know in which one of the two main characters is dead, in which the dead and living can communicate almost as easily as we do every day, in which magic is serious and scary? Mainstream books, that is, not Goosebumps, with an introduction by T.S. Eliot, with the whole thing to be understood as at least feasible if not truth. This is unusual. And yet, and yet the whole thing works. It is the story of two dead women, killed during an air raid on war-torn London, and the choices they make ~ or the choices they made while alive ~ and how they affect the world of the still living. It is also the story of an evil (American) magus, Simon, who practises (actually, he's very good at it) real black magic. His desire to rule the world, and the plan he has to use his daughter to gain the power to do so, is in the end defeated by Lester, one of the dead women, her husband, his friend, and the friend's fiancée ~ Simon the Clerk's daughter. The evil is real, overbearing, even, though it is bizarre; one gets the idea that all the Clerk does is feasible, that Williams has experienced evil in his life, that he knows whereof he writes. The descriptions of the dead, of the City they inhabit (both London and not-London), are also real, persuasive; Williams must have had some foreknowledge, one feels, to write the way he wrote. Reading him takes quite an investment, of time, of thought, of disbelief suspension; it is, however, well worth the cost: The payoff is a gripping book, plenty of thought, and a clearer vision of life. I shall have to read another Williams, but perhaps not too soon.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Aaron M. Day on February 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
While the premise of ghosts as major characters took a little bit to adjust to, I found that Williams developed supernatural characters and a supernatural world that seemed as solid and "real" as the natural world. It is a wonderful novel that explores so many deep concepts - heaven and hell, the reality of the supernatural, the nature of evil and its limitations, body and soul,... In fact, the main difficulty with the novel is the fact that it explores so many deep questions, and dwells so much on the inner thoughts of the characters. These aspects make the novel a difficult (yet rewarding) read. I found that I needed several hours of completely uninterrupted time to really get into the novel. Then, I couldn't put it down.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By NRW on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Whatever your ideas of heaven and hell, they will never be the same after reading Charles Williams. Whether the new images will be comfortable or not is another question. In some ways Williams's picture of heaven is, if anything, more frightening than the conventional depiction of hell. It's certainly considerably more compelling. His dead protagonist was one scared woman--and so was I, for most of the novel. In "All Hallows' Eve" Williams gives his eschatological images expression in their leanest, purest form, mingled with other terrific and similarly life-threatening images of the war that was then engulfing the world. Read it!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Bachelier on June 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Creepiest book I've ever read. The occult, the dead, evil magicians, ordinary colourless people, and a conspiracy of a changing malevolent world order just beneath the surface of things.

The story arc is difficult to describe, but the two lead characters are dead girls operating in a depopulated limbo, with occasional glimpses of where they are heading (Hell and Heaven) and where they have been (the mortal world). Secondary characters include well-intentioned, but hapless young men, an evil grand dame, her suppressed daughter, and a monster of a necromancer intent on enslaving humanity and the dead alike.

Williams narrative style borrows much from philology, for the precise and poetic way in which he uses words lulls us into other worlds. This is in fact his thesis, that words are a link to another world, which is why spells and prayers are effective beyond their mere utterance. One wonders what Heidegger and Wittgenstein would have thought, for this is the novelisation and narrative explication of Heidegger's conceptions of being-there, and the refutation of the reductionism inherent in wordly precision that Wittgenstein refuted his own Tractatus and sought the rest of his life in the elusive and indefinable power of mytho-poetic language.

Soft souls avoid, for this is a challenging supernatural read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Ryan on September 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a ghost story, but not a horror story. You may get chills reading it, but not always from "the creeps". On the other hand, you may finish it wondering just what the heck you just read. I submit to you All Hallows' Eve-- definitely not for everybody.

All Hallows' Eve is Charles Williams' last novel, written and set in WW2 England. It starts shortly after the tragic deaths of two women friends, Evalyn and Lester, in a bizarre collision, and neither is aware at first that they have died. They wander a weirdly deserted London separately for a brief time before meeting up, which gives the author an opportunity to focus on Lester's inner spiritual journey as she slowly confronts some unattractive truths about herself and her important relationships with her husband and her friends. In a separate but intersecting storyarc, Lester's surviving husband and his artist friend cross paths with a popular cult leader, Simon Le Clerc. This disturbing figure has a hidden past that is revealed only to us, the readers, as the plot unfolds. He is shaping up to be something not unlike an antichrist of sorts who is conducting covert, occultic experiments on the artist's love interest, Betty Wallingford, who is the daughter of one of Le Clerc's most devoted followers.

Williams makes use of Betty's nighttime passages to scratch the surface of an alternate universe which Evelyn, Lester and (presumably) other newly-deceased inhabit. It is simply described as the City, and although it bears a surface resemblance to London, it is more of an infrastructure to London, or perhaps the Platonic Ideal of London...possibly something more.
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