Customer Reviews for

Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women (Original and Unabridged)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

The Fantasy that inspired so many others

C.S. Lewis referred to George MacDonald as "his master." That's quite a compliment coming from an author as world-renowned and loved as C.S. Lewis. However, C.S. Lewis was not the only writer to be inspired by MacDonald; Lewis Carroll, W.H. Auden, G.K Chesterton, Mark T...
C.S. Lewis referred to George MacDonald as "his master." That's quite a compliment coming from an author as world-renowned and loved as C.S. Lewis. However, C.S. Lewis was not the only writer to be inspired by MacDonald; Lewis Carroll, W.H. Auden, G.K Chesterton, Mark Twain, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, and E. Nesbit were also influenced by MacDonald's writing.

Phantastes is a fantasy into which you must immerse yourself to appreciate. (Phantastes was the novel that C.S. Lewis said baptized his imagination.) The central character, Anodos, steps out of our world and enters a fantastic world, rich in imagery and full of memorable sub-plots. Like many of MacDonald's other stories, it is a story of death, but as C.S Lewis was quick to notice, it is a good death.

What I love most about MacDonald's romantic fantasies are the beautiful images he paints, the interwoven sub-plots, and the deep truths that under-gird his stories. His meandering style (mentioned above) helps me to lose myself in the story rather than trying to guess at where he might be going with every twist or turn. I also like the fact that you never really leave his stories behind. Instead, you go on thinking about them, returning to them, wondering and wandering about them. MacDonald's protagonists are continually stepping into and out of the present, everyday world and the fantastic, extraordinary other-world. I find this simply fascinating.

If you are like stories that are both deep and rich in imagination, you're likely to enjoy Phantastes. (If you wish to add this book to your home library, I like the ones published by Johannesen best. They have a lovely binding and are facsimiles of the original printing. If you prefer paperback, then I recommend Eerdmans because they include C.S. Lewis' introduction.)

posted by Holy-Quest on August 29, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Travels through Fairy Land, by one of Lewis' and Tolkien's favorite authors.

Perhaps it was my high expectations which have cooled my impressions of Phantastes: for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, two of my favorite authors, both considered this man among their highest inspirations. (Lewis once said that MacDonald was his master, and that he cou...
Perhaps it was my high expectations which have cooled my impressions of Phantastes: for C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, two of my favorite authors, both considered this man among their highest inspirations. (Lewis once said that MacDonald was his master, and that he could not think of a book he had written in which he had not quoted the nineteenth century poet, proto-fantasist and sermon writer.) Don't get me wrong -- I enjoyed this book, for it was filled with images of beauty, subtle power, and transportation, infused with a melancholy which aroused longing rather than dampened it. The story of Anodos, a skeptical young man who finds himself one morning in Fairy Land, and of his journeys and travels there, in which he begins by searching for his Ideal beauty, and ends by losing his Shadow and his pride, is a well crafted and meaningful one. And the theme of Death, not as a curse, but as a gift, as a doorway to fulfillment of desire, is resonant and beautiful and true. But it lacks the meaning and mystery, the truth and transcendance, of Lewis' fantasies (both in his Ransom trilogy and his Narnia chronicles).

posted by MLucero on April 3, 2009

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  • Posted November 23, 2010

    An immersive and Heartwarming Fairy Tale

    This book is filled with awe and wonder, illustrating an imaginative fairy tale world inhabited by timeless characters. The story is heartwarming, although its allegorical imagery is about impossible to decipher, and the author's poetry within the book is not even the second best I have read. But if you can get passed these subtle disappointments, it's overall a very good story, and it sucked me right in from the very beginning. I highly recommend it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

    Caveat Emptor

    The book is good, but the free nook-book is full of typos.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2000

    Deep, Heady, Meditative

    This is the first book I read after THE PRINCESS AND CURDIE, and I do recommend it. If you enjoy getting lost in a haze of mysticism as a good narrator leads you through a twisted maze of fantasy and philosophy, you'll enjoy this work of MacDonald. A word of caution - this book needs and deserves quiet time for you to ponder it and truly delve into it. It is something that is hard to read while traveling or feeling tense because you need the heaviness to settle in your brain. This book makes you think, and feel, and wonder. If you don't have the time or the mental capacity for it, don't bother. If you do have the time and the thoughtfulness to appreciate it, by all means.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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