Monday, March 7, 2011

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Source: Ancient Faith Radio (part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 )
Length: Approx. 4.5 hours
Reader: Dr. Chrissi Hart

The book: One of the classics of children's fantasy literature, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was my favorite book as a child. I loved (and still love) the feel of the world of Narnia as a place both magically impossible and plausable, filled with characters that could never exist, but are true enough to be real. I must have read it a dozen times from second grade up to my adult years. Every time I read it, I gain a new perspective on the book. The same book that is a mind-blowing adventure story for a child is also a profound Christian allegory for an adult.

I have some non-Christian friends who think that slipping an extended metaphor for Jesus Christ's death and resurrection into a children's story is some sort of sneaky trick Lewis uses to brainwash children into becoming Christians. However, I think the presence of the allegory is part of the appeal of the story, even if I didn't recognize it as a child. Great fanasty literature puts the reader in a world that has a history and largeness that exceeds even what is shown in the book. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis's imaginary world works on prophesies and rules that have the feel of existing beyond the scope of the book to eternity. What better way to lend a sense of mythic grandeur to a novel than to base it upon the most powerful and deep story in Western culture?

Rating: 10/10

The reader: I'm absolutely amazed that Ancient Faith was able to get permission from HarperCollins and the Lewis estate to podcast this novel. Hart has a pleasing British accent and the confidence of someone who is comfortable in front of a microphone. She makes a couple of repetition errors, but is otherwise flawless. The recording quality is very good, as is befitting such a professionally produced podcast. The other books in The Chronicles of Narnia series are also available for free through the same website, so head on over to collect all seven books.

(Entered in the Book Review Wednesday contest at Cym Lowell. Follow the link for reviews of other books by various bloggers)


Jeff Miller said...

Of course Lewis's friend J.R.R Tolkien was totally against the use of allegory - or at least to the extent Lewis used them and they argued about this a bit in their famous Inkling get-togethers.

Listener said...

Yes - I'm not sure who's right. Both of their bodies of work are such a huge influence on me. I don't think Lewis's use of allegory would have worked in anything but a children's book, so I'd probably be more inclined to side with Tolkien.

Julie D. said...

I may finally listen to this classic book. Thanks for the links!

Also, at Ancient Faith Radio, there is an iTunes button so that you may download all of the Narnia books via iTunes. Super handy.

Rabid Fox said...

C.S. Lewis is one of those classic names in literature I've never been able to get into. Like Tolkeinn and several other fantasy authors.

Maybe an audiobook version could turn me around.

P.S. - visiting via Cym Lowell's blog.

Listener said...

Thanks, Julie and Rabid Fox. You should definitely listen to this book. It's not too long and is a great classic.

Elizabeth said...

Have seen the movie, but haven't read the book....thanks for the review.

Stopping by from Cym Lowell's Book Review Party.

Stop by my blog for a giveaway of LINEN QUEEN courtesy of Sarah from Hachette Books.

Anonymous said...

Will the last two chapters be posted soon?...

Listener said...

My fault, Anon. I've put the link up to the last section. Enjoy!