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To some, Narnia is just the fantasy setting to a series of books by C.S. Lewis; to others Narnia is a refuge; still others understand it is a destination they have sought their entire lives. In spare and elegant chapters on each of the books in the series, Smith follows the paths children and grown-ups, including himself, have taken to meet Aslan. He includes a reflection and discussion questions for each chapter. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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IVP: Who is Aslan and how did he come to be?
Mark Eddy Smith: C.S. Lewis hosted children who were evacuated from London during World War II. He wrote The Chronicles of Narnia to entertain these children. He began with an actual wardrobe and an image he had held onto since he was sixteen of a faun standing in the snow holding parcels. It was not until he was well into writing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that Aslan came bounding in. I don't know how long it took before he ascertained the lion's true identity, but while it may seem strikingly audacious for any author to introduce the God of all creation as a character in a children's story, I like to believe that it was the Lion of Judah himself who leaped into these stories of his own volition and for his own purposes, and Lewis was wise enough to stand back and let him in. IVP: How has Aslan influenced your own life and faith?
Smith: The lessons I've learned from and about Aslan are ones I need constant reminding of. I always approach him with the fear that he will be angry for things I've done and left undone, but in Narnia he is always primarily concerned with joy and second chances. IVP: Who were you picturing as you wrote Aslan's Call, and what were you hoping they would find within the pages?
Smith: The most difficult part of writing this book was deciding who the audience was. The Chronicles of Narnia have touched so many people with so many different ideas about the world that I couldn't begin to narrow the field. I subsequently decided that my primary audience, the only one I was capable of writing for, was myself. At the end of every page, I was always hoping to find Aslan himself. Imagine my surprise at the end when he actually showed up!About the Author:
A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Mark Eddy Smith is graphic designer at InterVarsity Press. His book Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues is being published in ten languages. He currently resides in Westmont, Illinois.
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