I'm a bit behind the times but I have finally finished Jacobs "The
Narnian." I like how the author stated his intent and then fufilled it. No bio is ever going to come close to defining someone. Jacob's take, focusing on Lewis's imaginative life, was especially compelling for me since it is Lewis's imagination that I find most inspiring and interesting. Jacob's narrative was nuanced and flexable enough to hold my attention even though I already knew most of the facts. I especially like how Jacobs handled the various stages of Lewis and Tolkien's friendship. He didn't try to oversimplify a complicated relationship. I wish Jacobs had dealt a bit more with Lewis and William's friendship. I also wish there had been more on "Till We Have Faces," a novel it is all to easy to be simplistic about, but which I think betrays all sorts of ambivilences and subtleties. In short, I wish the bio had been longer, which shows how much I enjoyed it.
I gather some people have been put off by some factual errors. I'm a lousy factchecker, but I only spotted one and frankly, that sort of stuff can always be sorted out in a second edition. The author's tone, scholarly and Christian, was perfect as it allowed Jacobs to understood, and therefore deliniate, aspects of Lewis's spiritual life. Jacobs could then tie these in with Lewis's imaginative life in a way that a secular scholar would have a hard time doing.
In short, I think Jacobs did a fine job and I would reconmmend the book to anyone interested in Lewis.
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