The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia by Laura Miller
When Laura Miller was young, she was introduced to “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” by a teacher; Narnia quickly became one of her favorite places, feeling more real to her than any place she had been. Later, as a teenager who had become disillusioned with her church, Miller was quite unhappy to learn of C.S. Lewis’ status as a Christian apologist and his use of theological influences in Narnia. Later, as an adult and a literary critic, she returned to Narnia to try to capture some of the magic she had found as an adult.
“The Magician’s Book” ends up being part memoir, part literary criticism, and part biography of Lewis. I’m not entirely sure that is what Miller intended when she started this book, but that is how it came across to me. It was at first a bit disconcerting, I imagined it would focus more on the literary criticism, some on the memoir; it simply wasn’t fit together quite as I expected it would be. By the time I had gotten further into the book, though, I couldn’t imagine her putting it together any other way.
Although I do not share many of Miller’s views on religion – or even Narnia itself – this was a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, I occasionally found myself disagreeing with her aloud, but it was a civil disagreement, being able to see her well-rationed side of things and perhaps understanding my own views better through the disagreement.
Surprisingly engaging for a work of literary criticism, I would recomment “The Magician’s Book” to anyone who has ever loved Narnia.