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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Book Review - The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis

The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis
by Jerry Root and Mark Neal

Abingdon Press
September 1, 2015
280 pages

This book is still another take on the literary genius of C.S. Lewis.  The authors – as well as this reviewer – are long-time fans of Lewis and his imagination.  The fact that this is called a “surprising” imagination seems, at first, a bit sensational.  However, as the book unfolds, we see again how Lewis adopted various literary methods to best communicate his stories.  Lewis’s work in autobiography, religious writing, literary criticism, fairy tales, science fiction, satire, and poetry are all examined with examples that present to the reader a new perspective – better said, perspectives – on Lewis’s work.  While it helps to have read the pieces identified and analyzed, it is not necessary to see the construction of the work that Lewis applied in order to tell the story that needed to be told.

Dr. Root is an associate professor of evangelism and leadership at Wheaton College, home of the richest deposit of Lewis material, the Marion E. Wade Center.  Mark Neal is the vice president of digital marketing for a Chicago-area marketing firm that works with higher education, nonprofits, business, and publishing clients.  Together, their collaboration has produced a thoughtful look at an author who has both captured and stimulated the imagination of many.  The book provides both an introduction to Lewis – indeed, one use of the book is as a text book for undergraduate studies – and can serve as a critical review for those who know Lewis’s work well with the benefit of a view from the use of imagination.  The twelve aspects of imagination used among the seven genres explored are Lewis’s own and work as a mechanism to further understand and appreciate the author and apologist.

This work provides even more appreciation for the literary acumen and the creative vehicles that Lewis deployed.  If you’ve never picked up a copy of any Lewis volume or if you’ve read them all – or had some of them read to you – this book is highly recommended as an easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down, thoughtful, and thought-provoking presentation of one of the greatest writers in the 20th century.



Disclosure of Material Connection: This book was received for free from the author but a positive review was not required. The opinions expressed are those of the reviewer. This disclosure is in accordance with the United States Federal Trade Commission’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 16 CFR, Part 255.

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