George MacDonald: Lilith A Romance



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Utiful ladiesand mutilations to balance this out The Narnia series has always been very important to me so it was fun to read a book that so directly influenced CS Lewis Hidden mundane objects in country houses sed as portals to another world speaking animals fantastical Christian allegory it s all in there However I don t think Lilith was intended as a children s novel and it is interesting to see the contrast between these two books and and how each distilled their theological fantasies Lilith is mildly gothic but certainly not as terrifying as Lewis s The Last Battlewhich is downright apocalypticPersonally I imagined this book s world through a filter of cheesy BBC video ality like the music video for the Cure s Charlotte Sometimes or an episode of Doctor Who That s just me I think it s because there is a lot of wandering through a British country house in the beginningAnyway Lilith is worth the read if you re a fan of CS Lewis and would like to see a direct influence It s got some beautifulsolemncreepy bits and good descriptions of hideous beings If you re remotely Catholic it might freak you out a little It triggered my ingrained Catholic terror of the afterlife So I suppose this was a good choice for Lent It s an experience similar to reading Lewis s Narnia series vs his Space Trilogy I was torn between 4 and 5 for this oneat first I love it in many ways and give it 5 stars Some will probably find it a little harder to read but that s due to the time in which it is written and it s slightly dated style I m not sure that relax is the right word here but relax into the book and experience it This book is in my opinion amazing I got it out of the library and still would like to find a copy available locallyGreat book UPDATEI have since bought the book It has stayed with me since the first reading and given me not only an amazing read but food for thought and insight into not only the ideas dealt with in the book but myselfFrom the opening scenes of this book in an old and somewhat mysterious library apparently haunted by a raven looking man in tales possibly the old librarian I was pulled in I followed the thoughtful yet enthralling story from start to finish and then tracked down a copy of the book for my own libraryMy highest recommendation for this one 5 stars It gets listed among my favorites This is by far one of the darkest books I ve ever read Coming from a Christian minister I would expect the book to be a bit preachy I found however that the story is way of a dark fairy tale set in a somewhat biblical world with faint biblical themes It s hard of course not to be a bit biblical considering some of the main characters are Adam Eve and Lilith the first wife of Adam MacDonald writes this story in a way that truly makes them characters in a book rather than bible superheroes here to promote proper Christian morals and whatnot I m an atheist and never once felt ncomfortable or as though I were being read a story from a ministerMacDonald ses amazing imagery when it comes to the world around Mr Vane the stories protagonist At times things can be so beautiful you wish you were there to see it and then take a turn There is a moment in the book where Mr Vane is surrounded by flying lit skulls swirling around him in the black of night MacDonald gives life to these skulls with an almost morbid reality In short this book is for everyone If you have thought about giving it a go don t let the religious ndertones keep you away It is a fantastic roller coaster ride through what is living what is good and evil and what is hell It will challenge even the most creative mind and I dare you to read it and not think at least once Wow I wish I had thought that The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics up I m a fan of George MacDonald for his fantasies and for his children s books His two older fantasies Lilith and Phantases are difficult to read and they re difficult to pigeon hole But why do we even want to pigeon hole things in the first place Oh right MarketingAnyway like I said Lilith is not the easiest book to read Perhaps it s partially due to the era MacDonald was writing in but he certainly isn t pandering to the lowest denominator here The story is a haunting tale of a man named Vane who travels to another reality where he learns about life and death and sin and redemption That s the nutshell The name Lilith which refers to one of the characters in the story is also the name given to Adam s first wife in traditional Jewish folklore I think if I have my facts straightPart horror part romance part fantasy part theological treatise and part philosophical musing Lilith has to be experienced for any true fantasy connoisseur I won t guarantee that you ll like it but I guarantee there are shining jewels in it that ll make you think or at the least make youneasyBy the way reading Lilith and MacDonald s other fantasies makes it fairly easy to see his influence on CS Lewis fantasies MacDonald is very much a thinker s fantasist I m combing through my memory files but I can t think of many who fall into that category and they seem to become fewer and fewer the closer the date approaches 2012 Voyage to Arcturus springs to mind as well as Lewis s Space Trilogy which I ve always thought of as fantasy than sci fi Chesterton s The Man Who Was Thursday The Silmarillion What others would Programming in Objective C ualifyAnyway Lilith difficult maddening puzzling but definitely worth it When I was 2 my wonderful grandmother visited our little postwar stucco bungalow out on the fringes of our little former lumber townMy grandmother believed in magic White Magic Back then she was like a Fairy Grandmother to meOne day during her visit she took me by the hand and led me down to ournfinished basement All she said to me was Today we re going to visit the Zoo And she somehow within my own private tiny toddler s headspace had suddenly transformed our little subterr. D the man he followed was a special man a man who led him to the things that nderlie the fate of all creation Lilith is considered among the darkest of MacDonald's works and among th.

As my brother accurately described it it starts out as a sort of Christian acid tripAlice in Wonderland type experience For the first half of the book you have almost no idea what is actually going on but it s worth sticking it through because later it all falls into place The story takes it s premise from an old Jewish myth about a companion named Lilith whom God gave to Adam before Eve She was an angelic being not human and couldn t reconcile herself to the vocation of bearing Adam s children to populate the earth They had a single child together before their relationship was abandoned and Lilith was replaced by a fitting companion taken from Adam s side Because of Eve s later fruitfulness Lilith bore an eternal hatred towards the human race Most of the myth remains in the background however and the story centers on a man who stumbles through a mirror into an alternate realm where Adam Eve and Lilith continue to carry out their perpetual feud The climax of the story involves Adam the Father of mankind and Mara the Lady of Sorrows leading Lilith grudgingly toward repentance A parallel plot line involves the main character slowly learning how little it is he actually knows about what he has hitherto simply called reality Only after he willingly choosing to lie down in the House of the Dead is he able to rise to a fullness of life of which he has never before even dared to dream CS Lewis has been oted as saying that this book baptized his imagination and for good reason The writing style leaves something to be desired it is heavy and plodding in places but the sheer myth of it is amazing In my opinion the entire story was worth the final few chapters which turn out to be a glimpse of what earthly life will be like after the resurrection of the dead It is absolutely beautiful in its description If you have yet to long for the world to come this story may help take you a long way down that road And better yet teach you to look for the glimpses of the heavenly kingdom which even now break through into the present world Here is my favorite passage along those lines from Lilith Now and then when I look round on my books they seem to waver as if a wind rippled their solid mass and another world were about to break through Sometimes when I am abroad a like thing takes place the heavens and the earth the trees and the grass appear for a moment to shake as if about to pass away then lo they have settled again into the old familiar face At times I seem to hear whisperings around me as if some that loved me were talking of me but when I would distinguish the words they cease and all is very still I know not whether these things rise in my brain or enter it from without I do not seek them they come and I let them goStrange dim memories which will not abide identification often through the misty windows of the past look out The Water Of Life upon me in the broad daylight but I never dream now It may be notwithstanding that when most awake I am only dreaming the But when I wake at last into that life which as a mother her child carries this life in its bosom I shall know that I wake and shall doubt no I wait asleep or awake I waitOur life is no dream but it should and will perhaps become one Written as a fantasy novel with much spiritual wisdom and insight George MacDonal in his companion of phantastes again achieved to render with Lilith a remarkable piece of literature which will hunt relentlessly your dreams and don t have mercy for the boundaries of your imaginationIn brief a few words about MacDonal himself A poet Scottish author and a Christian ministerhe lived from 10 December 1824 to 18 September 1905A prolific writer and after an exciting and eventful life with much sufferings and the lost of several of his children due to sickness it is said that his writings has became the major influence in the life of such remarkable authors as J R R Tolkien G K Chesterton and several othersC S Lewis wrote that he regarded MacDonald as his masterThe novel itself deals with themes like death redemption and the eternal struggle between good and evil also the development ofs human beings and the real meaning of reward and punishmentLet me insert the remark that I had goosebumps and tears following MacDonalds awesome fantasy tale and narrationHere some excerpts which will speak for themselvesMy boy I answered there is no harm in being afraid The only harm is in doing what Fear tells you fear is not your masterLaugh in his face and he will run awayBut there is a light that goes deeper than the will a light that lights The Year of Living Biblically up the darkness behind it that light can change your will can make it truly yours and not another s not the ShadowsA rewarding and an exceptional readingMy full recommendation with five stars to you allDean D This was an interesting book to read after David Lindsay s A Voyage to Arcturus Both deal with fantastic travel Lilith with inter dimensional travel Arcturus with inter planetary travel as a means of religious and spiritual discovery Both drag you on a harrowing journey where manyestions go nanswered Lilith however is blatantly Christian It is fun to read a fantasy novel that illustrates the milestones of Christianity particularly Creation and the Resurrection sing irky versions of Biblical characters The Narnia serieswhich was hugely influenced by MacDonald handles these ideas elegantly through allegory and better writing but Lilith is still an interesting readThe book is focused on death living is life in death every immoral action is a new death death is actually life etc These philosophies are often delivered gravely by a talking raven and in a confusing semantic manner similar to any other talking animal in a Lewis Carroll story This gets a bit tedious and confusingbecause MacDonald s writing juggles between clunky and to the point and lushly poetic However there were enough monstersbea. Lilith is a story concerning the nature of life death and salvationAfter he followed the old man through the mirror nothing in his life was ever right again It was a special mirror an.

Read Lilith A Romance

Anean storage room cluttered with bric brac by her very words into a magical and mysterious ZooAnd just like the early and somewhat na ve Carlos Castaneda self hypnosis can work wonders I SAW the wild animals in their exotic cages all around meGeorge MacDonald here conjures p a COMPLETELY FANCIFUL world for For the Love of All Thats Holy, Dont Buy a Boat When Venus is in Retrograde us too in the bric brac of an old old houseCause it s a feeling that s replete and satisfying in life to live close by a Deep Bottomless Well of the Spirit in a palatial mansion on a princely property So infers George MacDonald in LilithBut his lucky hero inherits bothWell in part only for the mansion is a bit dark and decrepit And it s haunted Bynearthly beingsAND by a Secret World that dwells in a real spiritual opening A secret world far MYSTICAL in the traditional sense than Neil Gaiman s For MacDonald TRUSTS in Divine ProvidenceJust like I trusted my grandmother and everyone else when I was a kid No wonder the Lord tells Scary Stories 3 us to be like these little onesIt works wonders It will take you back to that simple first miraculous and supernatural ORDINARINESS of MacDonald s worldNow follow MacDonald s hero as he chases after his own familial White Rabbit right Through the Spiritual Looking Glass to a place of deep sleep and his soul sltimate replenishment And we ll ALL be in that place someday with FaithSuch a world as this 19th century Scottish Man of the Cloth the author must have mentally envisioned mayhaps as he trudged the dreary miles to visit his snappish and dour parishioners on many a gloomy Highland day Dreaming of the Rest that comes after a long life of labouring dutyAnd a Duty to which he an eternal dreamer was so temperamentally ill suitedBut his gloom is our gainAnd THAT s getting older for you a time when shifting slivers of fitful dreams flit over our half lit neutral autumnal mindscapes like morning mistBut it gets even better as we age further when we recover as MacDonald does for The Penguin Atlas of Endangered Species us our True Second Childhood IF our dreams are born in a Milieu of LoveAnd we the readers find that WE are the ones who have been blessed in heaping overflowing good measure as we reap the reward he along with our own daily acts of charity have sowed forsThe reward of a bottomless reservoir of an endless wealth of imaginationAnd as it was for the young CS Lewis discovering fantastical new worlds in MacDonald s magical tales in his gloomy grimy Irish preteen years so it will be for The Bartender usEspecially in the Great BeyondSo Five Gorgeous Mystcal stars for this one I have an enormous respect for George MacDonald His books such as At the Back of the North Wind The Princess and Curdie The Princess and the Goblin The Day Boy and the Night Girl and even Alec Forbes and His Friend Annie were among my childhood favorites they were magical and my first brushes with fantasy at 8 10 years old He was an exceptionally gifted and inspired writer of the 1800 s I even respect his history as a clergyman who loved god but left off being a preacher because he believed against the tenets of his times that everyone was capable of redemption Plus he was Scottish You know But Lilith has been extremely difficult for me to get through Lilith the biblical Adam s other wife is basically damned and evil and vile because she s a really bad mother And I mean really bad the characterization of which is misogynist in itself Almost worse the main character s attraction to another disturbingly child like girl is based solely on her having an intensely devoted mothering nature This was good Anything else is bad Perhaps this is all because it s the first time I ve attempted one of GM s books after leaving behind my childhood religion Perhaps I d find myself reacting the same way to any of my old favorites at this point in my life I find that despite my respect for him I can t not mention the sexism inherent in it even though he s a man of god from the 1800 s what else could you expect I know he wasn t misogynist than his contemporaries and considering his many many books from the feminine perspective I suspect he was actually less so than most But it s still worth mentioning to the modern reader that the preconceived notions of womanhood especially motherhood that this book is based on are absolutely revolting It s pretty and romantic only if you are capable of completely divorcing the notion of womanhood and motherhood from any real live woman From humanity from being capable of developing and living by our own moral compass from the concept of self determination George MacDonald is one of the most severelynderrated authors of all time A contemporary to Lewis Caroll and major influence on CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien this man s imagination apparently knew no bounds and that is incredibly apparent in his masterpiece Lilith Narrated by a nameless everyman figure it follows his adventures in a world he discovers after inheriting his father s house and many nsettling circumstances there leading him to a mirror which reveals another realm Incredibly complex this story is really like a series of events that the narrator witnesses in this realm all leading down to a confrontation with Lilith the legendary first wife of Adam in various cults of Jewish faith Ultimately it is a story of the nature of evil and the hope of redemption but it is packed with literary allusion and stunning imagery that the reader will not soon forget Written with a deft wit and a finesse for the subtleties of human nature MacDonald deserves to be in the ranks of he highest of fantasy and allegorical writers rather than collecting dust at the bottom of knowledge s shelf What to say about this book Well it s the darker companion to Phantastes It s an immersive fantasy dream experience that transcends plot though it has one It s a Christian exhortation to the reader die to self if you would live forever It is by turns odd humorous witty sweet downright E most profound It is a story concerning the nature of life death and salvation In the story MacDonald mentions a cosmic sleep that heals tortured souls preceding the salvation of all.

GK Chesterton