Context: While I was reading this, we went next door to have dinner with some friends and their dog.
A colleague has this trilogy and highly recommended it so, being a fan of all things Lewis anyway, I was happy to start this off. First impressions… hmmm… I’m more curious about what is going to happen than what happened in this first book.
Ransom is blithely minding his own business enjoying a walk in the country when suddenly, a couple of chapters later he’s on Malacandra (that’s Mars to you and me). How he gets there, I’m not telling. And why he goes there I’m not telling either. But I am telling you he does go there.
And it’s a very strange place indeed. Peopled by one of three species of physical creatures, there is a very different type of spirituality in existence too. After some initial adventures, Ransom settles into language learning (like any good immigrant) and is soon highly integrated into Malacandrian ways of life.
Eventually though, his past catches up with him: he is summoned to meet Oyarsa who I initially thought must be an angel, but later was told wasn’t. Whatever he/she/it is, we don’t have he/she/it on earth. The meeting with Oyarsa culminates in the book’s conclusion and the setup for book two.
This is not allegory a la Narnia. We are not in a world that represents our world. Rather, we are in another world so that we can get a perspective on ours. Although you may not agree with the perspective, it is a helpful exercise to contemplate it from this viewpoint. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes in the second book. I’ve a feeling Lewis has barely got into second gear…
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