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At The Back Of The North Wind Paperback – September 10, 2010


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At The Back Of The North Wind + The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics) + The Complete Fairy Tales (Penguin Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing, LLC (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1162653930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1162653938
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is a story of a poor stable boy living in Victorian London in which everyday lives are mysteriously enveloped by a power and a glory, personified here as a beautiful woman known as the North Wind. She visits the small boy, Diamond, and takes him with her on her journeys, teaching him about herself. Through the eyes of an innocent and yet perceptive child, MacDonald explores North Wind as a way of exploring the place of death in our lives. He looks squarely at social injustice--he knew poverty and the poor first hand--and yet also sees that the deepest need we have is for love and forgiveness, which are rooted in eternity.

This is a book for children--I've read it to my own daughter more than once--even though they may not understand just who North Wind is until years later. Adults on the other hand will learn that while they thought they knew something about death, there is much to relearn--and probably the most important part. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

A Victorian fairy tale that has enchanted readers for more than a hundred years: the magical story of Diamond, the son of a poor coachman, who is swept away by the North Wind?a radiant, maternal spirit with long, flowing hair?and whose life is transformed by a brief glimpse of the beautiful country ?at the back of the north wind.? It combines a Dickensian regard for the working class of mid-19th-century England with the invention of an ethereal landscape, and is published here alongside Arthur Hughes?s handsome illustrations from the original 1871 edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

It really made you think about what is most important in life.
Taylor Brown
This is, I think, the best of Macdonald's childrens' fantasy that I have read.
Jaysol
I very much enjoyed this book and especially the character of young Diamond.
chip211@freewwweb.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Nate Volkerding on March 11, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've never read anyone who writes quite like MacDonald. When you read him it is not the quality of his writing, but rather his personality (kindly and eccentric, at the same time so quintessentially Scotch)and immensely powerful and original imagination that show on the page. He is more an excellent storyteller than a "proper" author, I think.
In the North Wind, as in much of MacDonald's work, there is a wealth of moral and religous themes and analougies under the surface. In my mid 20's now, I was surprised at the effect that reading MacDonald's childrens books has had on me. It is not that I would have disagreed on an intellectual level with anything in the books before reading them, but rather that McDonald has a talent for gently bringing people to examine what their opinions mean and how they treat other people as a result of them. I've found more than a few chinks in my own armour, in that respect.
As for North Wind in particular, it's quite a breathtaking, display of raw, imaginative brawn. The first third or so of the book is perhaps one of the most chilling and beautiful stories I've ever read. It becomes a little more conventional after that and meanders a little. There is a good bit of amiable nonsense and a fairy tale within it that, though it seems a little tacked on and has nothing to do with the greater story, is still very clever and charming. I think most adults will see the ending coming, but it left me a little shaken up anyway.
Like some of the other reviewers have mentioned, it's a very hard thing to create a character who is absoulutely good. There is a real danger of making the character into a weak, simpering, priggish, goody two shoes.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Frank J O'Connor on September 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This enchanting classic is as lively and moving to read as the day it was written. There is no Victorian stodginess or moralizing here. I remember reading an essay where Simone Weil lamented over the difficulty of portraying goodness in literature--in fiction evil seemed to dominate. Well here in the character of the lad Diamond is one of the most convincing evocations of human goodness and saintliness in literature, childrens' or adult. One is reminded of St. Francis of Assisi when contemplating Diamond; his purity, innocense, and unselfconsciousness float right off the page. I especilly call your attention to the dialogue between Diamond and his mother on the beach as she tries hopelessly to explain to him that now they are poor. His sublimely worldly (and yet otherworldly )responses are both hilarious and deeply moving. One of MacDonald's core beliefs, so often and passionately stated throughout his writings, is here given flesh and blood: goodness is truth.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Beatrice on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This children's book has had a profound impact on my faith and spirituality. It is a book I have read and re-read over the years, especially when I am struggling with my faith. The story, Diamond's relationship with the North Wind, satisfies one on an almost mystical level. Its simple, beautiful story leaves one knowing that no matter what happens in the world, God is God; and we can rest assured that He is in control. We can be at peace, in spite of the pain and evil in the world.
Don't look for answers. Simply read the story and let it wash over you. If you have the faith of a child, you will not be unaffected.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steven J. Rickard VINE VOICE on February 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm torn here. I personally get frustrated when the rating for a book is brought down by someone rating something other than the book itself, but I do feel obligated to warn anyone else away from downloading this book to their Kindle. If and when songs or poems are quoted in this book, they are either omitted entirely, or formatted without any punctuation or line breaks. I recommend that you find a copy of this book that has been more carefully edited.

So, I'm rating the book five stars, because George MacDonald is almost certainly worth it -- but I strongly recommend you download one of the other Kindle versions of this book.

I'm a new Kindle user, and my biggest and most consistent frustration has been the typos and poor formatting I find in many of the books -- free or purchased. When I run across such poor formatting and other errors, I will begin to make my experience known. I hope others will do the same.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 5, 1999
I read this book from the library and once again, I am buying a copy. My 14 year old son is now reading it and can't seem to put it down. George MacDonald's imagination is incredible. You never know what is next.
The story is of a servant's child who is visited and taken on journeys by the Lady North Wind. It is set in the time period of Charles Dickens' stories and is refreshingly challenging.
Unlike many of today's books for children, it makes them think about life's myteries and challenges their intellect and values. I think most people find it 'boring' or 'difficult to get through' because it is so unreasonable.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers on January 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Flying, whirling, spiraling through the night sky, the beautiful and powerful North Wind takes little Diamond and the reader on countless journeys throughout England in the late 1800's. As Diamond travels with North Wind he experiences what it means to truly live, and he matures in wisdom far beyond his young years.
Throughout the novel, numerous hardships befall Diamond's family, and he is forced to drive a horse-drawn cab in order to help his family survive. Although just a young boy at the time, he shows remarkable strength, and fortune seems to follow him in whatever he does. But is it fortune or North Wind? Even though mostly indirectly, North Wind plays an extremely manipulating part in Diamond's life, for the good and the temporary bad. One night, she takes him on a magical flight to a beautiful country behind her, and throughout all his trials and achievements, Diamond longs to revisit that peaceful country. Diamond's life is grievous, but his innocence forever pulls him closer to his heart's desire.
With wonderfully created characters, excellent scenery, and master storytelling skills, British author George MacDonald has written a marvelous piece of classical children's literature that has thrived through over one hundred years of written storytelling. Although fantastical in nature, he imparts on his readers, through the personalities and behaviors of Diamond and his family, a certain level of morality that is almost nonexistent today. This children's novel is written in classical British English, yet it is easy and fun to read with many songs, poems and stories within the larger story. MacDonald does an excellent job of depicting life and death in a positive manner, and the parallels to Christianity and God's relationship to his children are evident for all readers to see.
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