Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Sort of Read Lilith by George MacDonald

(Don't be fooled! This is not your typical romance!)

I first thought I would try reading this book back when Pete Peterson wrote, "This is one of my favorite books of all time. I was wracked with tears during the resolution in the final chapters. Just incredibly beautiful." All of the comments on this review were incredibly positive and glowing and even though I didn't really think it sounded like a book I would enjoy, I was intrigued.

Then Jason said he loved it as well and because I thought Jason would be approaching the book differently than the Rabbit Room, I really wanted to read it. Hannah and I did our book swap challenge and agreed to read one book together. It took us a couple of years, but we did it!

It's not that Lilith is long, it's just that I can't overemphasize how much it is not the kind of book I normally read. Out of laziness, I call it fantasy, but it's...more like the retelling of a myth? Or as they say at The Rabbit Room--the resolution to one. But it still feels like fantasy to me. And I don't really get along with fantasy. :(

When I first started it, though, I quite liked it. It was easy to read and imaginative. I was eagerly anticipating many deep thoughts and a huge emotional catharsis...but it just didn't happen for me. I got bogged down trying to imagine the world and when I was reading some summaries of the story after I finished the book I realized I had missed quite a bit of what happened!

I tried to have a conversation with Hannah about it but I just had...nothing to say. And I'm drawing a similar blank here. Reading this book made me feel stupid, I guess.

I marked quite a few passages that I will share!

"There is such a thing as remembering without recognizing the memory in it."

"Only by the reflex of other lives can he ripen his specialty, develop the idea of himself, the individuality that distinguishes him from every other. Were all men alike, each would still have an individuality, secured by his personal consciousness, but there would be small reason why there should be more than two or three such; while, for the development of the differences which make a large and lofty unity possible, and which alone can make millions into a church, an endless and measureless influence and reaction are indispensable. A man to be an perfect-complete, that is, in having reached the spiritual condition of persistent and universal growth, which is the mode wherein he inherits the infinitude of his Father-must have the education of a world of fellow-men. Save for the fellowship to the beasts that grazed and did not speak. Better to go about with them--infinitely better-than to live alone!"

One other thing...(lol at how much this isn't a review), I read Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton a few years ago and she cited MacDonald as an influence. And I could actually really sense that while reading, like the way the worlds were developed felt similar.

So I read this book...but I'd be hard pressed to tell you any details about it. It's not that it's a bad book, it's just not the right reading material for me. Actually, I think it is a difficult book in the sense that according to the more literary criticism type stuff I read, it's very different. Most people love it. I just feel lucky to have finished it.

Have you read it? Tell me all the reasons I'm wrong!


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