I finished reading George MacDonald's classic tale At the Back of the North Wind earlier this week, and reviewed it at the Christian Fiction website. For those less interested in the Christian perspective in the novel, I thought a note here might be warranted.
George MacDonald is a great story-teller. He can be really funny, and he draws up a past age through his writing. In his day, children's literature was really just coming into its own, and MacDonald was a big part of that process.
At the Back of the North Wind is addressed to the child reader, but I think it certainly has a much broader appeal than that. It is a well-constructed piece, fully of whimsy and imagination. The places the novel takes us are well put together, with images that draw you in to want to read more.
There are many people who might like to lay claim to the title of father of the modern fantasy genre, but I think it is arguable that MacDonald forms at least a good bit of the root system of that whole branch of literature. At the Back of the North Wind is one of the classic pieces that establishes him in the genre, written back in the days when no one really thought of such a genre existing at all. He was admired by many writers who came after him, and his fiction left an indelible mark on this whole field of writing that has grown to be so huge in today's book market.
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