Our rating: *****

On his 21st birthday, Andos, our hero, received, along with certain legal rights, the keys to an old desk of his father’s, which he has longed to examine for quite some time. Upon opening the desk he meets a fairy lady who tells him that he will find his way into fairy land on the following morning. Her prediction proves correct, and Andos finds himself in the world of fairies, where he meets living trees, queer people, dangerous beings, and all sorts of adventures—at times beautiful, at times horrible—and learns not to get so caught up in pursuing the ideal that he forgets the good.

This book is a dream, in more ways than one. It is one of my favorites. A classic fairytale, but full of beautiful word pictures and great thoughts. And some nice poetry, too. It is very like a dream because it flows from one encounter to another, sometimes with reason, other times with seeming randomness, but always as a coherent whole. The only two drawbacks with the book are, first: there is quite a bit of romance. Andos seems to have trouble with controlling his eyes, and falls in “love” with several fay, and this “love” is presented as a high idea. Second: the after-life is presented as a happy, loving, “one-with-the-world-around-you” existence. Read this with discernment, separating the pretty from the true or false.

One Response to “Phantastes”

  1. Wow. Five stars.

    Although the title doesn’t exactly reach out and grab me, it certainly sounds like a fascinating book.

    – Jordan

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