Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I began Perelandra a few weeks ago, and I am sure I would have finished it before now had I not gone on a Fellowship kick.
Perelandra is the best C.S. Lewis book I have read so far; surpassing even the Narnia books and almost surpassed The Lord of the Rings. The story is unique that it begins with Lewis himself going to see Dr. Ransom, and then in the next chapters it goes on to say that Ransom comes back and tells the story. While reading Perelandra, I enjoyed reading about the landscape more than I have in any other book, and I felt many times like I knew exactly how it must feel to be there, just because it was so vivid.
The golden sky of Perelandra made the book peaceful to read, as well as the many days that Ransom spent merely loafing and exploring; eating the fruit, and making friends with creatures like dragons. Some of the highlight of the book for me was just learning about the creatures and plants that Lewis dreamed up for Perelandra. I think my favorite animal may have been the singing beast, or the dwarf mice. (I will say no more...you must read it for yourself). The interactions with the humans and Perelandra were interesting and meaningful. There wasn't much dialogue in the book. Much of it was narrative of Ransom's actions and his personal thoughts in narrative form, which was a good way to get into his head in a non-personal way; as if he were thinking in a personal, yet non-personal manner. Almost as if he were talking to someone, but they could not glean feelings from his speech, or something like that. This is one of the best novels I have ever read, and that is saying a lot. Lewis was a master; a genius! The story itself is poetry in the from of sweet prose; and all Lewis fans should read it. It is a kind of sci-fi form of Paradise Lost by John Milton if I am not mistaken, and I think Lewis wrote another book concerning Paradise Lost. In short, this was much much better than Out of The Silent Planet, which I even got a little bored with in places. I was not enthralled. I read several chapters last night in a place called La Diosa's which is a kind of wine shop with live music (provided by Andy Hedges and Andy Wilkinson) and I read through the talk and the live music and clatter and bang of glasses and plates. I was enthralled with Perelandra; it was so full of depth and beauty that one could not help but like it. It had the sort of narrative that some children might even like...the animals and the fruit and other odd things of Perelandra helped that. I remember that I was inspired to read Lord of the Rings for more reasons than one, and one of those was because I knew there would be a bit of narrative on the horse characters in there somewhere, so I bought a copy of the Fellowship and read it. I still have that copy; in fact that is the only copy I have, and I have the other two as well. Lewis also attacks ideas that I have never spoken of to anyone, at least not that I remember, and at least not directly, that I assumed was either all in my own head or in everyone else's, but since they didn't talk about it there wasn't much point. It sort of helps one understand the nature of the world a little better. It was the sort of thing that you imagined since you were little, or knew about since you were little, like if you stare at a light for a minute, then when you look away you see colorful dots and shapes that glow as if white-hot. Lewis is a master (though I imagine everybody already knows that) and this is a must for any admirer of him or Tolkien.