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All Hallows' Eve Paperback – November 11, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Regent College Publishing (November 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573831107
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573831109
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

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Williams may have had something to say, but this Christian writer simply didn't seem to have the ability to tell a story so that this "something" could be appreciated.
Mark Louis Baumgart
Whatever your ideas of heaven and hell, they will never be the same after reading Charles Williams.
Nancy R. Woodington

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 60 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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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Michael JR Jose on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Published in 1945 and still in print, this is the last of the novels of Charles Williams, who along with J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis was one of the Oxford literary group the Inklings. The recent increase in popularity of his fiction, initially boosted by his association with the Inklings, is probably due to the current success of the Frank Peretti thrillers, and the LaHaye-Jenkins 'Left Behind' series. However, in contrast to the current populists Mr Williams is intellectually quite a demanding read.
All Hallows Eve is another Williams ghost story, gently told in his own highly unorthodox style. Two young women have been killed in an accident in the aftermath of the WWII air raids on London, but their ghostly participation in the story is as real as that of any of the living people. It is probably fair to say that this novel, as with most Charles Williams fiction, is not recommended for the overly sensitive person, and could easily be misinterpreted the overly hasty.
Simon LeClerk is a powerful mage, more a Saruman than a Gandalf, and his plan is domination of this world and - more worryingly - any other that he can access. His adoring acolytes form the powerbase of his support for a new world religion. Betty, daughter of one of these acolytes, is the unwilling dupe of the magician, and the key subject in his most daring and horrible experiment. An artist is the bereaved husband of Evelyn, one of the ghosts, and a civil servant is Betty's intended husband.
The characters have depth and robust individual style. While many an author can paint real villains doing convincingly bad things, Williams is unusual in that his good characters and their goodness are equally if not more convincing. Their goodness is genuinely felt and is strongly attractive.
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20 of 21 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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16 of 17 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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