Better to sit at the waters' birth,Than a sea of waves to win,To live in the love that floweth forth,than the love that cometh in.Be thy heart a well of love, my child,Flowing, and free, and sure;For a cistern of love, though undefiledKeeps not the spirit pure.
George MacDonald -- from Phantastes: A Faerie Romance
Read this book, please.
I can't even say how much I love this book. I've been really nostalgic about my bookshelf. I always want what I can't have. To reread my favorite books now would mean intense procrastination on things that must get done. Favorites or not, I must ignore their call. Still, I couldn't help flipping through Phantastes absently.
Someone said that everyone ought to read each book twice. Once for fun and once for thought. But there are books like Till We Have Faces that we can read over and over, and you discover something new each time. Same with Phantastes. I opened it to a random page last night and was drawn in nearly against my will. It's a random, scattered book [done partly, I think, to reinforce the hazy feeling Anodos experiences being lost in fairyland] with the overarching story being tied together with lots of little stories.
On the one hand, it's George MacDonald. The man who was the reason C.S. Lewis wrote much of what he did. His allegorical content is fantastic, and his writing is all the good of the "fireside poets" without being laborious or pretentious. And while Phantastes, as one of his first novels, is more rough and choppy than some of his later works, it's also quite unlike any other book I've ever read. I want to tell you what it's about, but, I haven't the faintest idea myself.
And, my copy is some breezy 185 pages. Frankly, I hate long books. So this is a major selling point for me.