I did something fairly rare last night: I gave up on a book. I got George MacDonald’s collection The Gray Wolf on a whim, because it was only two dollars and the title story was fairly well done, and because I’ve been reading more collections these days to keep from being sucked into a long story at bedtime. I should have paid more attention to the blurb on the back extolling C.S. Lewis’s admiration of MacDonald; I am not a religious person and do not particularly warm to religious stories (religious characters being a different matter). However, the title story was indisputably fantasy and not overtly religious, so I said why not.
Well, while I haven’t read all of the stories in the collection, I wouldn’t be surprised if I picked the only one that was both actually a fantasy and not overtly religious. Anyway, I tried one more story after reading this passage, but really I should have just stopped there:
And may it not be believed of many human beings, that, the great Husbandman having sown them like seeds in the soil of human affairs, there they lie buried a life long; and only after the upturning of the soil by death, reach a position in which the awakening of their aspiration and the consequent growth become possible. Surely He has made nothing in vain.
Suffice it to say that when the story’s omniscient narrative voice [*] is espousing a worldview so contrary to my own, I just can’t enjoy the story.
[*] Habits of precision compel me to describe it this way, though I imagine it’s probably safe, under the circumstances, to assume that it’s simply the author’s voice.