Review: The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis

I was excited to receive The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis because I am a fan of his writing, although I haven’t read all of his books. When the opportunity arose to read about the imagination behind his work, I was thrilled. Who doesn’t want to know more about C.S. Lewis and his “surprising imagination”?

TSIOCSL-Book CoverThe Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis is divided into two sections. The first section examines “Imagination and the Literature of the Mind”. This section includes five chapters; each chapter delves into one of C.S. Lewis’s works. This section was an intriguing one for me. For one, most of the books discussed were new to me. Such works shared were: Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, An Experience in Criticism, and The Discarded Image. Second, reading about these books and what C.S. Lewis was portraying to the reader in each of them made me want to expand my C.S. Lewis library.

The second part of the book included six more chapters, but this time the main focus was on the “Imagination and the Literature of the Heart”. This section included several of my most beloved novels by C.S. Lewis. Seeing that most of the books I have read by Lewis were in this section, it made me realized I am drawn to the books he has written that focused more on the imagination of the heart. Books discussed in the second half included: The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Out of the Silent Planet, The Hideous Strength, The Great Divorce, and The Screwtape Letters. Having read most of these books, and then learning how Lewis wrote meaning into them, gave me a desire to read them again with a set of new eyes.

Reading The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis will give the reader a new level of understanding of the different topics Lewis wrote about. It will open the mind of the reader and give them a deeper appreciation of Lewis’s writing style. As a fan of Lewis, I felt Jerry Root and Mark Neal gave me a treasure by exposing the gems Lewis inserted into his stories and letters. You can enjoy C.S. Lewis books for what they are on the surface level, but part of Lewis’s genius in writing is to bring the reader into a deeper underlying level. When you discover the different layers of writing Lewis conveys in his books, you will be fascinated with the way he writes and the way he shares his ideas.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Since I am more used to reading fantasy and fiction, it wasn’t always an easy task to delve into the more mature writing of Root and Neal, but the rewards were worth the effort.

I would recommend The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis to those who are familiar with C.S. Lewis and for those who are not. As a fan, you will learn more about the author you have admired through his writings. And as someone who hasn’t read or even heard of C.S. Lewis, this book will stir up your curiosity of the man who in turn will fascinate you with his “surprising imagination”. Due to the writing style of the authors, I believe this book will keep the attention of those who are in high school or above.

This book isn’t only for readers either. Aspiring writers and seasoned authors can also gleam useful information from reading this book. It’ll bring them a step closer to recognizing the art of reaching people by writing in a way that relates to them on a deeper emotional or intellectual level. So much good information is written within this book’s pages!

I share the same thought as Wayne Martindale, professor Emeritus of English, when he shared his endorsement of this book, “This fabulous book on Lewis’s imagination will delight readers new to Lewis and those who, like the authors, have been reading him for decades. It shimmers with the joy of exploration and discovery. The Surprising Imagination of C.S. Lewis is a reliable and inspiring guide not only to Lewis but to a treasure trove of imaginative books that fired Lewis’s own imagination. In Robert Frost’s delightful phrase, this book is the occasion for a ‘fresh think.’”

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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