From the international best-selling author of the His Dark Materials Trilogy, a spellbinding journey into the secrets of his art—the narratives that have shaped his vision, his experience of writing, and the keys to mastering the art of storytelling.
One of the most highly acclaimed and best-selling authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story—from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others—and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself.
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Kirkus Reviews starred (June 1, 2018)
Reflections both practical and philosophical on the craft and purview of tale telling, from the creator of the His Dark Materials trilogy.Rather than dish out amusing quotes from fan letters or standard-issue author talk, Pullman (La Belle Sauvage, 2017, etc.) offers meaty but always lucidly argued ruminations on the nature of story. He explores folktales and why they endure and matter, parallels and differences between literary and visual arts, and, a central theme in HDM (which is not, he insists, fantasy but “a work of stark realism,” daemons and armored bears notwithstanding), the profound conflicts between the reductive, authoritarian Christian “Kingdom” and the freer, more ideologically spacious “Republic of Heaven.” Amid animated tributes to Art Spiegelman’s Maus and Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, Milton, Blake, the “vast original energy” of Dickens, and others, Pullman draws from the language of subatomic physics to discourse on the “Fundamental Particles of Narrative,” each carrying a “metaphorical charge,” and how, for writers, each event in a new story creates a “phase space” within which all subsequent ones lurk. This is all saved from earnest or recondite lit-crit not only by the author’s evident intelligence and respect for his readers, but also a gift for dandy one-liners: “If you want to write something perfect, go for a haiku”; “No man is a hero to his novelist”; “What you think ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ is about when you’re six is not what you think it’s about when you’re forty”; “I strongly approve of original sin.” Published or presented between 1997 and 2014 and arranged in loose thematic order, these articles, talks, and introductory essays consistently demonstrate that Pullman—for all that his gaze is avowedly white and male—is as fine a thinker as he is a storyteller. It’s almost not fair. A collection of pieces infused with abundant wisdom, provocative notions, and illuminating insights.
Library Journal (September 1, 2018)
Pullman (His Dark Materials trilogy) gathers in this volume 30-plus essays covering philosophy, the writer’s craft, folk and fairy tales, William Blake’s enduring power, children’s literature, film, TV, theater, education and its relevance to story, and other topics. Few contemporary writers of imaginative fiction are able to explore large ethical and moral issues authoritatively, accommodating both intellect and emotion. Reminiscent of the late Harlan Ellison and Ursula K. Le Guin, Pullman achieves this without abandoning personal responsibility. Collections of this size, like symphonies, refrain themes. Pullman addresses this by front-listing recurring subjects and grouping them with essay titles in which they are discussed. The author doesn’t suffer gladly those offering unoriginal and/or tedious questions aimed at sussing “meaning” from his art, instead reminding that he’s “not in the message business; [but] in the ‘once upon a time’ business.” -VERDICT Introduced by author Simon Mason, this wide-ranging excursion maintains impressive coherence and is bound to satisfy devoted Pullman readers curious about his illuminating observations and why the appetite for-and value of-fiction is universal, from fire-lit cave to seminar room.-William Grabowski, McMechen, WV
About the Author
In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children’s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006. He is most famous for his “His Dark Materials” trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature freethought themes. The novels cast organized religion as the series’ villain. [He wants] to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife.” He argues for a “republic of heaven” here on Earth.
His website is www.philip-pullman.com
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