From Spare Oom to War Drobe


 My Kindle is building up quite a collection of books about Narnia that I was too impatient to order in physical form -- Planet Narnia, The Magician's Book, and now From Spare Oom to War Drobe by Katherine Langrish.

Langrish, herself a children's author, revisits the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time since childhood, bringing her own fond memories, but alert for newly adult awareness of Lewis's prejudices, and armed with an impressive scholarly background that can trace Lewis's literary and philosophical influences with convincing accuracy, from Edmund Spenser to E. Nesbit. She discusses each book in turn, remembering the emotional impact of each, but doesn't let Lewis off the hook. 

Interestingly, she acquits Lewis of charges of sexism, citing the strong, capable and intelligent female characters who lead most of the adventures (I agree), but she comes down hard on the 'Susan problem.' However, there is abundant evidence of lazy and inexcusable racism, and some muddled thinking around religion, along with the uplifting and magical passages that made Langrish (and me) fall in love with Narnia in the first place, especially the luminous imagery of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

I thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful and affectionate journey through Narnia.


  1. There is so much to love in the Narnia books. However I'm a bit timid about re-reading them...precisely because I don't want to be confronted with - for example - the racist nonsense of the Calormenes, and so fall out of love with the land beyond Spare Oom.

  2. I know what you mean -- but for me, the love outweighs the problems (I understand it won't be like that for everyone).