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Lilith by George MacDonald

Lilith (1895)

by George MacDonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,382138,400 (3.78)39
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» See also 39 mentions

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What to say about this book? Well, it's the darker companion to [b:Phantastes|174948|Phantastes|George MacDonald|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327629648s/174948.jpg|2206809]. It's an immersive fantasy dream-experience that transcends plot (though it has one). It's a Christian exhortation to the reader: die to self if you would live forever. It is by turns odd, humorous, witty, sweet, downright chilling, and glorious. It's often a blend of [b:The Pilgrim's Progress|29797|The Pilgrim's Progress|John Bunyan|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1405982367s/29797.jpg|1960084] and [b:Alice in Wonderland|13023|Alice in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1)|Lewis Carroll|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1391458382s/13023.jpg|2933712], but I love it more than both those books put together.

Lilith begins as a man called Vane steps through a mirror into a vividly detailed fantasy world. His guide is an old librarian who, in the alternate realm, appears as a raven and offers him both practical advice and spiritual challenges (and their arguments on metaphysics, not without wordplay, leave no doubt as to MacDonald's influence on [a:Lewis Carroll|8164|Lewis Carroll|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1192735053p2/8164.jpg]). Midway through the book, Vane's path crosses that of Lilith--yes, the same Lilith who, in Jewish mythology, was the rebellious first wife of Adam, replaced with Eve.

As anyone who knows MacDonald will expect, the journeys of Vane and Lilith each illustrate the Christian's journey to redemption. He writes said journey with so many layers--of justice, mercy, sorrow, love for fellow man, willful sin vs. ignorant sin, mysteries vs. revelations of God. If all that sounds preachy, well, I never found the book to be so. I walked in the protagonist's footprints, saw the fantasy realm as he saw it, felt the pricking of his heart in my own.

MacDonald wrote with a profound awareness of eternity I've never found in any other writer (except perhaps in the song lyrics of Rich Mullins). That bright and beautiful view is perhaps at its most resplendent in Lilith. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
A Portrait of the Other Side

This book is not for everyone, but if you find yourself longing for a mystical place that at one time you might have called home, you have something in common with the protagonist of this story. It is not fast paced by today's standards, but I never got bored with it. I would recommend it for the spiritual inclined. ( )
1 vote shedthenegative | Jul 19, 2017 |
Both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien list MacDonald as one of their influences and it is certainly apparent in his story telling. This book has shades of Narnia and Middle Earth both in it. It is a good story, but it was originally written in 1895 so the syntax and grammar make it a bit cumbersome to read. Still it is worth the read if one can wade through that aspect of it - the story is both dark and haunting and offers insights into MacDonald's theology (he was preacher and theologian as well as a writer) and understandings of the Divine as Mr. Vane (the main character) struggles to understand what it means to be alive, to love, and to be in relationship. ( )
1 vote Al-G | Dec 14, 2016 |
I've loved several books by MacDonald, but the descriptions for this mentioned 'evil' and 'horror' - and sure enough when I started to read it was very darkly mysterious. Not to mention allegorical beyond my abilities to decipher. I did read more than 20% before giving up. Oh well. This edition (at least my copy, which is available to you) has small print but is in a crisp font on bright white paper.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
This story is steeped in lots of symbolism. Macdonald is a Christian Universalist and as such this story concerns the struggles of life, death and salvation. Being written in the late 1800s this is not an easy read but was well worth the effort. ( )
1 vote marysneedle | Jan 17, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George MacDonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carter, LinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knopper, HelenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lamb, JimCover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Off, Lilith!"

--The Kabala
First words
I had just finished my studies at Oxford, and was taking a brief holiday from work before assuming definitely the management of the estate.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802860613, Mass Market Paperback)

"Lilith is equal if not superior to the best of Poe," the great 20th-century poet W.H. Auden said of this novel, but the comparison only begins to touch on the richness, density, and wonder of this late 19th-century adult fantasy novel. First published in 1895 (inhabiting a universe with the early Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde--not to mention Thomas Hardy), this is the story of the aptly named Mr. Vane, his magical house, and the journeys into another world into which it leads him.

Meeting up with one mystery after another, including Adam and Eve themselves, he slowly but surely explores the mystery of the human fall from grace, and of our redemption. Instructed into the ways of seeing the deeper realities of this world--seeing, in a sense, by the light of the spirit--the reader and Mr. Vane both sense that MacDonald writes from his own deep experience of radiance, from a bliss so profound that death's darkness itself is utterly eclipsed in its light. --Doug Thorpe

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:00 -0400)

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The story of Mr. Vane, an orphan and heir to a large house in which he has a vision that leads him through an old mirror into another world.

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