My husband and I recently read through The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams. It’s not a thick book – rather skinny compared to most – yet I feel as if I deserve a medal for completing it. You see, it’s not exactly what I’d call an “easy read.”
On the surface it’s a religious fantasy story about supernatural powers appearing on earth and the one man who is brave enough to stop them. But I must admit, there were several paragraphs where, after having read every single word out loud, I would step back and think, What the heck did any of that even mean? Maybe it was the author’s complex literary style. Maybe it’s because the words were in English but ordered with British syntax that doesn’t quite make sense to an American like me. And I’m fairly certain that some of the words were twisted variations of what we find in today’s dictionary. But in the end, all I really know is that I’m glad the book is over – read it only if you dare.
I will say, there were a few scenes where the symbology that was utilized was rather fun – particularly the religious representations. There’s a scene midway through where the hero, Anthony, tangles with the forms of the lion and the serpent; he refers to it as Ephesus, “where St. Paul had trouble with the wild beasts.” There’s a scene late in the book, when two of the characters are taking shelter by a lamb, while the lion pursuing them is unable to draw near. And of course, the grand finale, where Anthony takes on the form of Adam himself, but instead of naming the creatures as was his role in Genesis, he names the invading “powers” and by doing so is able to send them back from whence they came. It was comforting to see that even when the text “waxes philosophical” and loses comprehension, the light and truth of God still shines through.
All that being said, this is NOT my type of book ><. Not to read, and certainly not to write! The abstract and the complex are fun for some folks, but personally, I don’t want to struggle to understand what I’m reading. Much like my beef with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I want to be able to enjoy the story, and to take some meaning away from it. I admit to having scenes in my own books that don’t exactly drive the plot. But all of it will at least make sense! No aimless musings that leave the reader adrift in the sea of philosophy here, I promise! ;-P
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.