"I see the world slowly transformed into a wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better. That this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more." ~ 1944
"For children, childhood is timeless. It is always the present. Everything is in the present tense. Of course, they have memories. Of course, time shifts a little for them and Christmas comes round in the end. But they don't feel it. Today is what they feel, and when they say "When I grow up," there is always an edge of disbelief - how could they ever be other than what they are?"
5 stars The concluding book of Lewis' space trilogy that began with Out of the Silent Planet and Perelandra. It has been a long time since I have read such a powerful and moving novel. Simply put, Lewis is brilliant. The book stands alone as a masterpiece and can be read without reading the previous two. If you don't have the time to read the whole trilogy at least find the time to read this work. The battle between good and evil is displayed with such genius that you will not be disappointed. This was a marvelous read. I personally think this is Lewis' best book.
"The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there had been no dark valleys to traverse."
"Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Haven't you ever noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children - and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."
4 stars The final book in The Singer trilogy. It has been compared to Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy but I think this is giving it a bit too much credit. Clever as it is, Miller writes a pure allegory whereas Lewis and Tolkien do not. Miller offers a creative interaction with the book of Revelation in The Finale and is well worth the couple hours it takes to get through it.
A fantastic excerpt from MacDonald's The Princess & Curdie (the sequel to The Princess & The Goblin)
[Curdie had just killed a white pigeon and right after doing so begins to feel a great regret and remorse and is reminded of Princess Irene’s great-great-grandmother whose bird it might have been. Curdie sets out to find the great-great-grandmother and make amends.]
When Curdie saw how distressed [the great-great- grandmother] was he grew sorrier still, and said: ‘I didn’t mean to do any harm, ma’am. I didn’t think of it being yours.’ ‘Ah, Curdie! If it weren’t mine, what would become of it now?’ she returned. ‘You say you didn’t mean any harm: did you mean any good, Curdie? ‘No,’ answered Curdie. ‘Remember, then, that whoever does not mean good is always in danger of harm. But I try to give everybody fair play; and those that are in the wrong are in far more need of it always than those who are in the right: they can afford to do without it. Therefore I say for you that when you shot that arrow you did not know what a pigeon is. Now that you do know, you are sorry. It is very dangerous to do things you don’t know about.’ ‘But please, ma’am – I don’t mean to be rude or to contradict you,’ said Curdie, ‘but if a body was never to do anything but what he knew to be good, he would have to live half of his time doing nothing.’ ‘There you are mistaken,’ said the old quavering voice. ‘How little you must have thought! Why, you don’t seem even to know the good of the things you are constantly doing. Now don’t mistake me. I don’t mean you are good for doing them. It is a good thing to eat your breakfast, but you don’t fancy it’s very good of you to do it. The thing is good—not you.’ Curdie laughed. ‘There are a great many more good things than bad things to do. Now tell me what bad things you have done today besides this sore hurt to my little white friend.’ While she talked Curdie had sunk into a sort of reverie, in which he hardly knew whether it was the old lady or his own heart that spoke. And when she asked him that question, he was at first much inclined to consider himself a very good fellow on the whole. ‘I really don’t think I did anything else that was very bad all day,’ he said to himself. But at the same time he could not honestly feel what he was worth standing up for. All at once a light seemed to break in upon his mind, and he woke up and there was the withered little atomy of the old lady on the other side of the moonlight, and there was the spinning wheel singing on and on in the middle of it! ‘I know now, ma’am; I understand now,’ he said. ‘Thank you, ma’am, for spinning it into me with your wheel. I see now that I have been doing wrong the whole day, and such a many days besides! Indeed, I don’t know when I ever did right, and yet it seems as if I had done right some time and forgotten how. When I killed your bird I did not know I was doing wrong, just because I was always doing wrong, and the wrong had soaked all through me.’ ‘What wrong were you doing all day, Curdie? It is better to come to the point, you know,’ said the old lady, and her voice was gentler even than before. ‘I was doing the wring of never wanting or trying to be better. And now I see that I have been letting things go as they would for a long time. Whatever came into my head I did, and whatever didn’t come into my head I didn’t do. I never sent anything away, and never looked out for anything to come. I haven’t been attending to my mother—or my father either. And now I think of it, I know I have often seen them looking troubled, and I have never asked them what was the matter. And now I see, too, that I did not ask because I suspected it had something to do with me and my behaviour, and didn’t want to hear the truth. And I know I have been grumbling at my work, and doing a hundred other things that are wrong.’ ‘You have got it, Curdie,’ said the old lady, in a voice that sounded almost as if she had been crying. ‘When people don’t care to be better they must be doing everything wrong. I am so glad you shot my bird!’ ‘Ma’am!’ exclaimed Curdie. ‘How can you be?’ ‘Because it has brought you to see what sort your were when you did it, and what sort you will grow to be again, only worse, if you don’t mind. Now that you are sorry, my poor bird will be better. Look up my dovey.’ The pigeon gave a flutter, and spread out one of its red-spotted wings across the old woman’s bosom. ‘I will mend the little angel,’ she said, ‘and in a week or two it will be flying again. So you may ease your heart about the pigeon.’ ‘Oh, thank you! Thank you!’ cried Curdie. ‘I don’t know how to thank you.’ ‘Then I will tell you. There is only one way I care for. Do better, and grow better, and be better. And never kill anything without a good reason for it.’ ‘Ma’am, I will go and fetch my bow and arrows, and you shall burn them yourself.’ ‘I have no fire that would burn your bow and arrows, Curdie.’ ‘Then I promise you to burn them all under my mother’s porridge pot tomorrow morning.’ ‘No, no, Curdie. Keep them, and practice with them every day, and grow a good shot. There are plenty of bad things that want killing, and a day will come when they will prove useful. But I must see first wheterh you will do as I tell you.’
"[The miners] were not companions to give the best of help toward progress, and as Curdie grew, he grew at this time faster in body than in mind - with the usual consequence, that he was getting rather stupid - one of the chief signs of which was that he believed less and less in things he had never seen. At the same time I do not think he was ever so stupid as to imagine that this was a sign of superior faculty and strength of mind. Still, he was becoming more and more a miner, and less and less a man of the upper world where the wind blew. On his way to and from the mine he took less and less notice of bees and butterflies, moths and dragonflies, the flowers and the brooks and the clouds. He was gradually changing into a commonplace man.
There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others; in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. One of the latter sort comes at length to know at once whether a thing is true the moment it comes before him; one of the former class grows more and more afraid of being taken in, so afraid of it that he takes himself in altogether, and comes at length to believe in nothing but his dinner: to be sure of a thing with him is to have it between his teeth.
Curdie was not in a very good way, then, at that time. His father and mother had, it is true, no fault to find with him - and yet - and yet - neither of them was ready to sing when the thought of him came up. There must be something wrong when a mother catches herself sighing over the time when her boy was in petticoats, or a father looks sad when he thinks how he used to carry him on his shoulder. The boy should enclose and keep, as his life, the old child at the heart of him, and never let it go. He must still, to be a right man, be his mother's darling, and more, his father's pride, and more. The child is not meant to die, but to be forever freshborn."
4 stars Miller has written an fascinating and intriguing piece of poetic fiction as he allegorically parallels portions of the book of Acts from the Bible. His portrayal is gripping and well cast. This book is written as a sequel to his earlier work The Singer (which follows the gospels as its inspiration).
Although The Song is not as strong as the first book in the trilogy, it is a worthy read and a beneficial reflection on what happens to those who follow The Singer after His death and resurrection.
The final book of the trilogy is entitled The Finale and is built around the themes of the book of Revelation.
"We have heard that when the commandant presided at the execution of the first Jews, he faltered momentarily. A woman held up her infant to him, crying, "Please take my baby." He turned as though to spare her son the rifle fire. And then he clicked his heels and turned away. The next six million souls were paperwork. Occasionally he left the office with a headache, but only because he feared the gas was running low or the cattle cars were late."
5 stars The second novel in the space trilogy which begins with Out of this Silent Planet. Ransom is on another adventure, this time to Venus (otherwise known as Perelandra). Weston also returns and what unfolds is a tale of genuine craftsmanship - this is Lewis at his best! The reality of sin and the demonic take on a new shape along with reality itself. A book that helps one read his or her own days.