Wednesday, 4 May 2005

The Amber Spyglass (Philip Pullman, 2000)

I always find it a bit sad coming to the end of a novel you really enjoyed. If it's good, you don't want it to end. Even more so when the ending is so traumatic.

I've finished The Amber Spyglass which is last of the Philip Pullman "His Dark Materials" trilogy. It's been a long time since I've been so thoroughly engrossed in a novel. If you've ever enjoyed the fantasy genre, then I would highly recommend it. But it's not a hum drum fantasy story; far more imaginative than that! It blends adventure, modern physics, theology and cosmology. Fabulous.

I've read that the trilogy is an interpretation of Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton. I don't know it but I know it's something I probably should know more about. Pullman sold the movie rights to New Line Cinema so you might get to see it on the big screen if you don't read the book.

Now  if you're a faithful Christian, there's a good chance you'll find this trilogy offensive. Just check out some of the 700+ comments on Amazon. To me, the story is a humanist fable that promotes the idea that you don't need a God to find meaning in life. Celebrate life here and now in our metaphorical Republic of Heaven (interview). A more interesting theological interview can be found here. In his own words:

So what I’m looking for is a way of thinking of heaven that restores these senses of rightness and goodness and connectedness and meaning and gives us a place in it. But because there ain’t no elsewhere, that has got to exist in the only place we know about for sure which is this earth, and we’ve got to make our world as good as we possibly can for one another and for our descendants. That’s what I mean by a republic of heaven.

So you can read this book as an adventure or a story about growing up or construct deeper interpretations.

Now if only I could find my daemon!

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