Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Last Battle by C S Lewis


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2009, first published 1956

In this novel we met all of the people from our world who have travelled to Narnia – except for Susan who dismisses  the earlier adventure a s child’s play and who is now more interested in stockings and lipstick. Narnia‘s world ends and they enter a new world. We should feel sorry for Susan. It seems that her brothers and sister have been killed in a train accident and gone to - heaven?

Before that happens, though, first Jill and Eustace, later joined by Peter, Edmund and Lucy, have to have a real adventure in the original Narnia. They have to a battle with the perhaps unfortunately named Darkies –a brown-skinned race who attack Narnia and try to deforest it.

The story starts off in a comic way.  A talking ape and his friend, a donkey, find a lion skin. The ape dresses the donkey in this and pretends it is Aslan and that Aslan approves of what he is doing with Narnia’s enemy.

There are echoes of Plato; the dwarves are enclosed in a stable and can’t see the wider world beyond the stable. Even when they are let out they still seem to be in the dark. They are offered splendid food but only understand it as basic roots and tasteless mush.  Fine wine becomes to them polluted water.

Adult readers, even Christian ones, may find some of the religious symbolism troubling.  Younger readers may find it puzzling.

Nevertheless this is an engaging adventure with an upbeat ending.

The book is 268 pages long, printed in blocked text in an adult font. There are several monochrome illustrations and maps at the beginning of the book.           

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