The story of the beginning of a triumphant creation.
Publisher: (Numerous, the one pictured is the Harper Collins 1998 edition)
First Published: 1955
Date Reviewed: 10th April 2010
This may be an old book and from a very popular series but it has been overlooked and forgotten by many. Thus I am making a point of writing about it.
Polly and Digory didn’t expect to find themselves in Uncle Andrew’s study when they went exploring in the attic. When Uncle Andrew catches them he gives them rings that send them to worlds far away from our own universe. The children visit an ancient world and finally Narnia, a place on the brink of life. But accompanying them is someone they fought to leave behind.
The Magician’s Nephew explains how Narnia came to be – the beautiful land, the talking animals, and, most importantly, explains the wardrobe into which Lucy later travels. It is a great short book, just long enough for children, and a quick read for adults.
Lewis conjures the perfect fantasy full of discovery. Although the children only visit two worlds there were plenty for them to choose from. An adult will register the humour in the book that a child will look over. That’s not to say it’s unsuitable for a child of course – Lewis has used the same tactic Disney do whereupon he fills a children’s story with comedy that the parent reading the story will appreciate. The writing style was clearly developed for children but that’s neither here nor there when there’s such a fantastic story on offer.
Something that has been discussed greatly in recent years is the correlation between the Narnia books and Christianity. You may have heard that Aslan is Jesus and that his humiliation at the hands of the witch in The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe is a clever retelling of the crucifixion; The Magician’s Nephew is Genesis, the story of creation and the serpent in the garden. It’s actually rather fun realising which parts of the book relate to what Biblical events.
This book is a timeless classic and you can do no wrong in picking it up and acquainting yourself with the introduction of a famous tale. Put on the yellow ring and see where it takes you.