I wrote in a previous post on how my wife and I had made a renewed pact to start devouring books from our local library during which I also mentioned my intention of reading a biography of renowned fantasy/sci-fi and Christian apologetic writer, C.S. Lewis. The book, The Narnian: The life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis, is written by Alan Jacobs a professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois, and paints a fascinating picture of a man whom I have always respected and enjoyed his fiction. It is not often that I pick up a biography and admittedly I digested this one rather slowly, but I almost had no choice as Jacobs pulled me into Lewis’ world in a way I had never known.
Jacobs doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to “Jack’s” life. You can certainly tell that the author is enamored by his subject, but he does a good job of balancing his praise of Lewis with the realities that plague many of us in this life. Lewis faced a great deal of hardship in his life, as we all do, but to read of his conversion from atheist to Christian and how he was able to rapidly develop prose using parchment and an inkwell pin (he never learned to type) when he had done nothing but struggle with his true love of writing poetry was nothing short of fascinating for me. I found myself empathizing with Lewis’ life as I felt so much of it mirrored parts of my own. My hopes to be a writer and be recognized for it, loving and loathing teaching at the same time, and balancing a life that we are not always prepared for.
The biography has re-inspired in me a desire to read and reread many of Lewis’ work as well as write more of my own. I highly recommend the book to anyone who has read and enjoyed any of his work.