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A fantasy novel first published in 1895, Lilith follows a young man on his inter-dimensional journey of spiritual discovery, as he acquaints himself with his family’s past and unearths a life-changing secret. Moreover, it deals with the introspection of its protagonist, as he is hurled into a mysterious setting where he encounters bizarre creatures that challenge the validity of his temporal values. Examining issues including the essence of life, wisdom, death, redemption, and salvation, the novel presents a masterfully woven plot that marks the piece as one of MacDonald’s darkest and most intense contributions to the fantasy genre. The novel begins with the introduction of Mr. Vane, a young educated man, who has inherited a fortune from his late father, including their family residence which has been in their family for centuries. Having a keen interest in books, Mr. Vane explores the house’s library, which is home to many old books. One day, he comes across an apparition of a man dressed in black, who he later discovers to be the ghost of Mr. Raven, the librarian of his great-grandfather. Deciding to follow the ghost, Mr. Vane is lead into a strange room where he finds a large mirror. Surprisingly, he notices that the mirror does not show a reflection, but instead shows an image of a foreign background and scenery. Subsequently, he falls through the mirror and finds himself in an unknown land, face to face with a raven. Losing all sense of time and space, Mr. Vane also realizes that the bird and Mr. Raven are one, as he witnesses his baffling ability to alter his form. So, begins Mr. Vane’s gripping journey as he witnesses the eerie wonders and dark elements of the strange land, while he also gradually comes to understand that his profane knowledge is not of much assistance in his new surroundings, and instead relies on a more profound outlook. Nonetheless, Macdonald’s piece has enthralled and influenced many writers since its initial release, most notable of which is author C.S Lewis, who had made many references to the novel in his own works. Owing its success to MacDonald’s generous supply of myth, colorful imagination, allegorical references, and descriptive language, Lilith is guaranteed to mesmerize with its unique spiritual and philosophical ideas that impel its readers to ponder over their thoughts time and time again.
I am listening for the third or fourth time. I know I will receive a fresh or deeper insight each time I listen.
Lilith has so much beauty to it and so many levels and the story is quite intriguing with it's message of unconditional love, something easily spoken of but much more difficult to accomplish. This reading by Pete Williams is so beautifully done that as it is with a great song "the original is still the greatest." This prose combined with this reading is an experience. Other fantasy books can be interesting but the intellect of this book borders on brilliance.
One of my favorite works. This strange cerebral journey filled me with wonder and a unique terror for moments at a time. This is a very underrated piece. I have never loved and hated any one character so much all at once.