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Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld



Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Enchanted

    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508

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Customer Comments

thomasn528 has commented on (2) products.

The Golden Compass: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials #01) by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass: Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials #01)

thomasn528, November 27, 2007

Pullman's books have subject to some angry scrutiny by some Christian and other believers, and this is intended to provide an alternative point of view.

Pullman's "Dark Materials" series is, it's true, in part an attack on _organized_ religion -- on the worldly power it wields when it takes a bureaucratized, theocratized, Catholic Church-like form. True, Pullman goes further, arguing essentially that if such organized religions are truly representative of God... well, then there's a problem with God, too.

But much more importantly, the series is a discussion of the consequences of an obsessive focus on eternal life after death rather than on a productive life before it. And they are a discussion of what it means to grow up and understand that. Indeed, Pullman is more ally than antagonist to Christians (and other believers) in one very important way: he doesn't dispute the notion of a "soul" -- rather, he extends and elaborates on it with the daemons accompanying humans in the alternate universe he describes.

But for those who believe the books are necessarily an "attack on Christianity," there's arguably an even more important point about Pullman's books: there is no mention whatsoever of Jesus in any of his discussions of either the Church or its ethereal counterpart, the Authority. Indeed (or instead), the chief protagonists Lyra and Will play a Christ-like role when they make a great but utterly necessary sacrifice at the end of "Amber Spyglass" -- moreover, after essentially "harrowing" Hell, admittedly with a decidedly different goal in mind than Jesus had in the New Testament.

To me, Pullman's books are ultimately not so much an attack on religion as an alternative vision of spirituality: sentience and mature purpose are the great goods of the universe, to be cherished, husbanded, and multiplied. That, it seems to me, is not such an awful vision for a Christian -- even for a conservative Christian -- to contemplate.

Pullman himself has called his books an attempt to kill God, and God's death is indeed ultimately part of the story -- though a strangely lesser part than one might think. But if your faith in God is unshaken by evil in the real world, it ought to be unshaken by a fantasy trilogy as well. Meanwhile, readers of all faiths (or lacks thereof) would do themselves out of a singular feat of the imagination and a powerful challenge to their beliefs about "children's books" -- if nothing else -- if they don't give these books a fair chance.
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(11 of 29 readers found this comment helpful)



The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials #01) by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials #01)

thomasn528, November 27, 2007

Pullman's books have subject to some angry scrutiny by some Christian and other believers, and this is intended to provide an alternative point of view.

Pullman's "Dark Materials" series is, it's true, in part an attack on _organized_ religion -- on the worldly power it wields when it takes a bureaucratized, theocratized, Catholic Church-like form. True, Pullman goes further, arguing essentially that if such organized religions are truly representative of God... well, then there's a problem with God, too.

But much more importantly, the series is a discussion of the consequences of an obsessive focus on eternal life after death rather than on a productive life before it. And they are a discussion of what it means to grow up and understand that. Indeed, Pullman is more ally than antagonist to Christians (and other believers) in one very important way: he doesn't dispute the notion of a "soul" -- rather, he extends and elaborates on it with the daemons accompanying humans in the alternate universe he describes.

But for those who believe the books are necessarily an "attack on Christianity," there's arguably an even more important point about Pullman's books: there is no mention whatsoever of Jesus in any of his discussions of either the Church or its ethereal counterpart, the Authority. Indeed (or instead), the chief protagonists Lyra and Will play a Christ-like role when they make a great but utterly necessary sacrifice at the end of "Amber Spyglass" -- moreover, after essentially "harrowing" Hell, admittedly with a decidedly different goal in mind than Jesus had in the New Testament.

To me, Pullman's books are ultimately not so much an attack on religion as an alternative vision of spirituality: sentience and mature purpose are the great goods of the universe, to be cherished, husbanded, and multiplied. That, it seems to me, is not such an awful vision for a Christian -- even for a conservative Christian -- to contemplate.

Pullman himself has called his books an attempt to kill God, and God's death is indeed ultimately part of the story -- though a strangely lesser part than one might think. But if your faith in God is unshaken by evil in the real world, it ought to be unshaken by a fantasy trilogy as well. Meanwhile, readers of all faiths (or lacks thereof) would do themselves out of a singular feat of the imagination and a powerful challenge to their beliefs about "children's books" -- if nothing else -- if they don't give these books a fair chance.

(adapted from comments at
http://tinyurl.com/35ywbh)
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(23 of 34 readers found this comment helpful)



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