Summary: A theologian and scholar walks us through CS Lewis’ Narnia.
The Narnia books, and maybe Screwtape Letters or Mere Christianity, is all that many know of CS Lewis. I am far from a Lewis scholar, but I have read over 20 books by or about Lewis over the last 3 or so years. I continue to gain insight into Lewis as I read different perspectives.
Rowan Williams in his 2011 Holy Week lectures talked about Lewis and Narnia and how both can speak to our Christian lives. This book is the result of those lectures (similar to his later book, Being Christian that I read earlier this year and his book on Paul.)
I did not realize until I was done that this was based on a series of lectures. This did not feel at all like a series of lectures, but like a planned book.
What I most appreciated about this book was its generous nature. Williams illustrated well what it means to read with the intention of giving the author the benefit of the doubt. Especially the chapter about Narnia’s critics, but also throughout the book, Williams wants to make sure we are not unfair to Lewis and his time or what Lewis was attempting.
Williams also keeps the focus on how Lewis is trying to communicate faith to his audience. There is clear wonder here. Williams himself read Narnia as a boy and while he has grown and is a scholar, he has not outgrown the desire to see wonder in literature.
Rowan Williams has also done his homework. This is a book that does not limit itself just to Narnia. He quotes freely and frequently, but appropriately, from the full range of Lewis’ work.
I have not read many other insight into Narnia books, although there are several others that are well reviewed including Planet Narnia, which Seth Simmons reviewed here at Bookwi.se. But I did enjoy this one and like other good books on Lewis, it just makes me want to read more of his original writing.