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At the Back of the North Wind by George…
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At the Back of the North Wind (1871)

by George MacDonald

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1,468None5,067 (3.99)68
  1. 11
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (rakerman)
    rakerman: Wind spirits play an important role in both The Girl and At the Back of the North Wind. The books both have aspects of wonder and sorrow, with a similar idea of a child taken away into a magical land.
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» See also 68 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
All I really call is that this was not y favorite McDonld. ( )
  antiquary | Mar 22, 2014 |
My Vintage Book Circle chose this title. I'm glad because I've never read George MacDonald before. It has some of the elements of Pollyanna with a boy instead of a girl. Much more fantasy and not as down to earth. I'd like to read more about Mr MacDonald and the literature of his time. This feels like it is very much a product of the time. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
At the Back of the North Wind is a morality tale for young children and their parents. Did Macdonald seriously believe real children could in any way behave like Little Diamond? Hopefully not but I suppose he was providing a model for children to emulate. And for parents the lessons are simple, love your children, listen to them, guide them and set a good example. If you are in a position to help other children don't hesitate to do so.

While I enjoyed the old-fashioned quality of this novel, I don't know if I would read it to any of my young relatives as it was obvious how it will end. At the Back of the North Wind is not nearly as devastating as Andersen's The Little Match Girl. (I read that many years ago in a store, tearing up, and wondering who would read this to a child.) Thankfully Little Diamond has loving parents and friends. ( )
  Bookish59 | Jun 8, 2013 |
I came to MacDonald because of Lewis who loved him. I do not. I read this fairly recently, within the last 5 years, and, frankly, I did not like it. It's very Victorian, a mix of schmaltz and real tragedy. ( )
  Kathleen828 | Dec 29, 2012 |
At the start, for the first half of it, I struggled to push my way through "At the Back of the North Wind." I thought it tedious and drawn out. But by the time I had waded into the middle, I found I was swimming.I just finished this book, and I have to tell you, I have no way of using my tongue to convey how I feel and what this book has done in me. I sit without words, but without the ability to contain the rush of thought and emotion that crowd me on all sides. I look about and the only thing that can settle me and quiet me is a morning sunbeam passing through the curtains to the floor. Ach, that sounds so rhapsodic and romaunt. I'm caught up, and enjoying every minute of it, like a man in love. But though my worldly assessment of masculinity wants me to say no more and erase all this, how could I hide from you that bit of "mysticism" which I am presently enjoying?Well, let me try to do some justice to this thing we call a "review" and actually talk about the book. I have one thing to tell you primarily: complete the story. I read the last chapter twice. Mull it over. Let thoughts on the whole story come and give yourself time to think about them, to philosophize and wonder. And then digest your thoughts. This is one of the greatest stories of any kind I have ever known (of course, this is only my estimation), and it is thus no surprise to me that C.S. Lewis wrote what he did of MacDonald's story-making:"What he does best is fantasy—fantasy that hovers between the allegorical and the mythopoeic. And this, in my opinion, he does better than any man.... Most myths were made in prehistoric times, and, I suppose, not consciously made by individuals at all. But every now and then there occurs in the modern world a genius—a Kafka or a Novalis—who can make such a story. MacDonald is the greatest genius of this kind whom I know."—This from a professor of literature, at Cambridge.I felt like I had experienced a holy moment when I finished the very last sentence of the last chapter—though I wonder if later, my words here will seem surfeit, but I know they can't, because, as Diamond and the North Wind explain in the latter portion of the book: whether the dream is true or not, the thing it has done and the thing it stands for is true; and if the thing is true, mightn't we also say that the dream is "true"?"At the Back of the North Wind" did nothing less to me than to make me aware of the wondrous ordinary—that the ordinary is never actually ordinary, but full of wonders, for those willing to perceive them. It also made me ever more conscious of a different way of being, as I fell in love with the character of Diamond: one that is so contented in trust, and fulfilled in love, that it cannot but live for the good of others (finding not that its own pleasure and good is overlooked, but that the good of others becomes its own pleasure and good) and that it cannot even feign to fear anything (finding that it is always watched and always loved by capable hands and full heart).I will leave you to decide for yourself whether you will read the book. You will or you won't—there are other ways to come to these things yourself and other places to find great stories (though not many will be so transcendent). But I don't feel any embarrassment in admitting the influence this book and George MacDonald's other works, each in their own kind, have made on me. ( )
1 vote davegregg | May 3, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George MacDonaldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bedford, Francis DonkinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browning, ColleenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hughes, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mozley, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shepard, E.H.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, Jessie WillcoxIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I have been asked to tell you about the back of the North Wind. An old Greek writer mentions a people who lived there, and were so comfortable that they could not bear it any longer, and drowned themselves. My story is not the same as his.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the main work for At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. Please do not combine with any omnibus containing additional works, or with any abridgement, adaptation, etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375413359, Hardcover)

A Victorian fairy tale that has enchanted readers for more than a hundred years: the magical story of Diamond, the son of a poor coachman, who is swept away by the North Wind–a radiant, maternal spirit with long, flowing hair–and whose life is transformed by a brief glimpse of the beautiful country “at the back of the north wind.” It combines a Dickensian regard for the working class of mid-19th-century England with the invention of an ethereal landscape, and is published here alongside Arthur Hughes’s handsome illustrations from the original 1871 edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:49 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Diamond, a young boy living in nineteenth-century London, has many adventures as he travels with the beautiful Lady North Wind and comes to know the many facets of her protective and violent temper.

» see all 4 descriptions

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