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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Devilishly Fine Fantasy

The Magician's Nephew - C.S. Lewis

This was one of the first books I can clearly remember reading as a child and since then I've read it any number of times for my own pleasure and that of my children. Recently, I thought I'd revisit it and I wasn't disappointed.

 

Everyone knows the story so I won't rehash it here but what struck me at this reading was the humour which, as in the best children's books is so often based around the absurdity of adult behaviour. Like the passage in The Magician's Nephew when Digory and Polly return from their visit the Wood between the Worlds accompanied by the utterly terrifying Jadis, Queen of Charn, and Digory's uncle, through terrified of her, can't help but be enamoured at the same time.

 

'Children have one kind of silliness, as you know,' C. S. Lewis writes, 'and grown ups have another kind. At this very moment Uncle Andrew was beginning to be silly in a very grown up way. Now that the Witch was no longer in the same room with him he was quickly forgetting how she had frightned him and thinking more and more of her wonderful beauty. He kept on saying to himself, "A dem fine woman, sir a dem fine woman. A superb creature." He had also somehow managed to forget that it was the children who had got hold of this "superb creature"; he felt as if he himself by his Magic had called her out of unknown worlds.

"Andrew, my boy," he said to himself as he looked in the glass, "you're a devilish well preserved fellow for your age. A distinguished looking man, sir."'

Devilish indeed!