Colin Duriez overviews J. K. Rowling's life, puts her work into the context of fantasy literature, analyzes the spiritual themes in the Harry Potter books and provides a succinct overview of the books. (Note: unauthorized version)
Whether or not the Potter frenzy exhausted itself during the months leading up to book seven will certainly determine the fate of Duriez's Field Guide among fans. One thing Potter devotees can bank on, however, is that Duriez (A Field Guide to Narnia) knows his material inside out and has amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of the great classics of children's literature and the Western intellectual cannon-which he employs judiciously to situate everything from "the wizarding world" in the romantic tradition to the relationship between Hogwarts and the classic "school story." While this work is admirable, the guide, unfortunately, reads like a textbook or a kind of Harry Potterdiagnostic manual. As a rule, Duriez's prose falls flat (though it occasionally dips into the realm of playful color commentary), its topics lack introduction, and much of the book is taken up by a series summary and an exhaustive glossary of terms. Also disappointing is the chapter on "J.K. Rowling's Spiritual Worldview," half of which is dedicated to listing and summarizing the spate of books that link Harry Potterto Christianity and spirituality, rather than offering new insights about the series and its Christian themes. But if Potter fans are looking for a basic reference manual and a few interesting talking points, Duriez's book will surely satisfy. (Dec.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
- InterVarsity Press
- Publication date:
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- 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
What People are Saying About This
Connie Neal, author of Wizards, Wardrobes and Wookiees and The Gospel According to Harry Potter
Amy H. Sturgis, Ph.D., author of Past Watchful Dragons: Fantasy and Faith in the World of C. S. Lewis
Meet the Author
Colin Duriez was for many years general books editor for Inter-Varsity Press in Leicester, England. A professional writer, he currently offers acquisitions, editorial and project management services through his own business, InWriting, based in Keswick, Cumbria.
He studied at the University of Istanbul, the University of Ulster (where he was a founding member of the Irish Christian Study Centre) and under Francis Schaeffer at L'Abri in Huemoz, Switzerland. He has held a variety of teaching and editorial posts spanning nearly thirty years. Duriez won the Clyde S. Kilby Award in 1994 for his research on the Inklings. He has published many articles, books and other written works, and he has spoken to a variety of literary, academic and professional groups in a number of countries.
He has also appeared as a commentator on the extended-version film DVDs of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Peter Jackson, director), PBS's The Question of God, which compared C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud, and the Sony DVD Ringers about Tolkien fandom and the impact of Tolkien on popular culture. His best-known books include The C. S. Lewis Encyclopedia (Crossway/SPCK), The Inklings Handbook (with the late David Porter, Chalice), J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: The Gift of Friendship (Paulist Press/Sutton), Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings (Paulist Press/Sutton) and A Field Guide to Narnia (InterVarsity Press).
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