Childlikeness and Storytelling (North! Or Be Eaten, Day 2)

I haven’t, as I said yesterday, read North! Or Be Eaten, nor have I read Andrew Peterson’s first book. I’ve now read a bit of his blogging at The Rabbit Room (and intend to keep visiting long after this tour is over). I’m struck by Andrew’s vision of Christian art. In “About the Rabbit Room,” he describes a visit to London:

The tour ended at the Eagle and Child, the pub where the Inklings often met for beer, friendship, and the sharing of their latest writings. I dragged my wife inside and promptly ordered fish and chips at the table where Tolkien, Lewis, his brother Warren, Charles Williams, and others once enjoyed one another’s company . . .  I’m not sure what’s so fascinating to me about these men and their works, their approach to creativity and their understanding of the source of it all. Their brilliance was remarkable; they were Christians, intellectuals, and yet childlike enough to love stories and seek fellowship in their making.

That last comment brought to mind one of the blurbs on North! Or Be Eaten, written by an author whose own series-in-the-making deals much with the power of art, stories, and childlikeness:

“In a genre overrun by the gory and the grim, Peterson’s bite-sized chapters taste more like a stew of Gorey (Edward) and Grimm (the Brothers). North! Or Be Eaten is a welcome feast of levity–and clearly a labor of love. Andrew Peterson has awakened my inner eight-year-old, and that is a very good thing.”
–Jeffrey Overstreet, author of Auralia’s Colors and Cyndere’s Midnight [and Raven’s Ladder, due to be released next month. I’m reading it right now and it’s fantastic.]

Children see stories in everything. At least, I did. And by seeking out the dynamics of story wherever we go, we’re more likely to catch glimpses of the Author. I’m excited about Christian fantasy literature that awakens inner children and makes us more aware of stories and their power.

Here’s more from Andrew’s essay. Go read it. It’s really good.

London itself was a wellspring of inspiration for me. We strolled through Kensington Gardens where Peter Pan was born, ate still more fish and chips in pubs that had welcomed travelers for four hundred years, I thought about Robin Hood, George MacDonald, Harry Potter, King Arthur, and Shakespeare. And of course, I thought about the gospel. History breathes in London, seeps through the cobbles and like mist it rises from the Thames. It’s easy to see why so many beloved stories have sprung from England’s imagination.

History swept me up when I walked beneath the portcullis of the Tower of London, when I took communion in Westminster Abbey among the tombs of long-dead kings. The blood and body of Christ, shed for you, peasants and kings, pagans and priests. The feast at the table is good and gives life, and is your only hope for meaning and peace and rest from the baying of the hounds at your heels, because Death and Sin and Hatred pursue you and would swallow you up if not for the strong voice of Jesus saying “Peace. Be still.” And at his word the dogs snap back into the darkness with a yelp as if reaching the limit of their chains. History belittles us. Its story is one of conquest and murder and vast darkness, and the noblest of men ends up as dead as the thief. I realized as I walked through the hall of kings in the Abbey that my time here is brief and my earthly crowns are worthless as chaff; the words of my epitaph will ring hollow lest they point to the fullness of Christ.







4 responses to “Childlikeness and Storytelling (North! Or Be Eaten, Day 2)”

  1. […] ? ? ? Chawna Schroeder ? Andrea Schultz ? James Somers ? Steve and Andrew ? ? ? Rachel Starr Thomson ? ? ? Robert Treskillard ? ? Fred Warren Jason Waguespac ? […]

  2. Brandon Barr Avatar

    Great post Rachael. I’ll have to go and check out the rabbit room.

  3. Phyllis Wheeler Avatar

    Great plan for contributing to the blog tour without having read the book. Thanks for the research!

  4. Krysti Avatar

    It’s amazing he found fish-and-chips in such abundance. I’ve heard years ago from my Brit friends that true fish-and-chips had become a rarity, and very hard to find. I wonder, are they experiencing a come-back?

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