From Publishers Weekly
Jam-packed with critical insights and historical context, this discussion of C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia from Miller's double perspectives--as the wide-eyed child who first read the books and an agnostic adult who revisits them--is intellectually inspiring but not always cohesive. Finding her distrust of Christianity undermined by her love of Lewis's indisputably Christian-themed world, Salon.com cofounder and staff writer Miller seeks to "recapture [Narnia's] old enchantment." She replaces lost innocence with understanding, visiting Lewis's home in England, reading his letters and books (which she quotes extensively) and interviewing readers and writers. Lengthy musings on Freudian analysis of sadomasochism, J.R.R. Tolkien's Anglo-Saxon nationalism and taxonomies of genre share space with incisive and unapologetic criticism of Lewis's treatment of race, gender and class. The heart of the book is in the first-person passages where Miller recalls longing to both be and befriend Lucy Pevensie and extols Narnia's "shining wonders." Her reluctant reconciliation with Lewis's and Narnia's imperfections never quite manages to be convincing, but anyone who has endured exile from Narnia will recognize and appreciate many aspects of her journey. (Dec. 3)
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In this powerful meditation on �the schism between childhood and adult reading,� Miller recounts her tumultuous relationship with the favorite books of her youth, C. S. Lewis�s �Chronicles of Narnia.� Filled from an early age with a distrust of the Catholic faith in which she was raised, Miller didn�t notice the Christian subtext, and when she learned of it, as a teen-ager, she felt �tricked, cheated.� Combining memoir, criticism, and biography, Miller takes Lewis to task for his �betrayals,� including the racial stereotyping and �litism that, she argues, inform the books. Yet her respect for Lewis�s talent remains; scrupulously placing him in his historical context, she crafts a nuanced portrait of the author as a sensitive curmudgeon and comes to the realization that �a perfect story is no more interesting or possible than a perfect human being.�
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