- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date:
- 01 October 2009
- Classic fiction
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One of the key points in this novel seems to me to be the experience Lucy has with Aslan - only she can see him, and no one else believes her. What does she do? In terms of Christianity, many find themselves in the same place. As a believer, do I follow Him, even when no one believes me? Even when the "safe" path may be to go along with the others? The story is engaging, with a mix of urgency and gaiety that curiously works together and actually provides a sense of perspective. My kids are enjoying the read aloud.
Narnian kingdoms (and Earthly ones) can change and decline. But they can also be rescued and reborn.
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia centuries after their departure to help Prince Caspian wrest the kingdom out of the hands of his tyrant uncle. A very cute story with a wonderful moral. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I’m reading them in publication order, so this is the second book.
If one were to imagine C. S. Lewis’ seven <i>Chronicles of Narnia</i> as a large, rather dysfunctional group of relatives, I think <i>Prince Caspian</i> would be that difficult middle cousin nobody likes talking to—the black sheep of the family, if you will. Many fans consider it the worst of the series, while a sympathetic, defensive minority claims it as their favorite. Until the spring of 2008 I belonged to the former camp, but when I reread it during the excitement surrounding the release of the movie last year (a disappointment that I will try to gloss over) I realized what an incredibly powerful story it is. Now, reading it aloud to my younger sister, I find the magic is still there. Moreover, I cannot believe that I have read it <i>and</i> loved it for two years in a row!At this point I should like to remind everyone that the book’s full title is actually <i>Prince Caspian: The Return of Narnia</i>. Why do I do this? Because I think it very important. The subtitle makes it clear that this is not only the story of a young Telmarine’s fight to overthrow his usurper uncle, but also of the Pevensies’ return to their former kingdom after thousands of years have passed in that world, but only one in their own. This duality is central to the tale, and gives the book its structure. Lewis interweaves his two plotlines, which eventually conjoin, in a series of blocks. First he devotes three chapters to the Pevensies as they try to discover together where they are after being called out of their world, then we get four chapters of Caspian’s story; after that there another three to four chapters showing the children’s journey to reach Caspian; finally, several more depict the simultaneous battle and romp by which Narnia is freed.I have found that in discussing this book with other <i>Narnia</i> fans this indirect, non-linear construction is one of their primary complaints. It does not bother me much now, but I believe it was indeed one of the reasons that this Chronicle did not catch my imagination when I was younger. Another was the fact that there is relatively little action up until the “Sword and Sorcery” chapter about three-quarters of the way through. But this missing action frees up space for some simply <i>superb</i> character development. In this book one really begins to know the Pevensies as human beings. One sees Peter entering adulthood, Susan trying rather too hard to <i>be</i> an adult (isn’t it just like her, when they are all looking for food, to say that “it was a pity they had eaten the sandwiches so soon”?), Edmund beginning to atone for past wrongs, and Lucy growing in her relationship with Aslan. Indeed, her fan-named Walk of Faith is one of the book’s most beautiful and important passages, when she decides to follow Aslan through the forest even when the others cannot see them. Belief in times when doubt reigns supreme seems to be one of the book’s major themes, and one which differentiates it substantially from its predecessor <i>The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe</i>, which otherwise shares the same Narnia-saved-from-evil-rulers-by-Pevensies-and-Aslan formula. In a superstitious but atheistic society it is left to such simple creatures as the Prince’s nurse, a half-dwarf doctor, and a hideaway badger to stay true, hope, and remember.My five-year-old sister says this is her favorite of the <i>Narnia</i> books that we’ve read so far (we just finished <i>Voyage</i>); maybe it’s my newfound enthusiasm pouring over. Though it is still not my favorite, I recommend giving it another try. You might see it with new eyes.
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