Jason Kehe on Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS:

“A comparison to Tolkien is inevitable for any fantasy writer—as is a comparison to C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and just about every other fantasist who ever was (T. H. White, Le Guin, Feist, Pratchett, Pullman, Alan Moore, and so on, as well as some notable non-fantasists, like the great Evelyn Waugh). But with Grossman, the comparison is even more unavoidable than usual. If the references to a school for magic and a mystical land didn’t already tip you off, Grossman’s trilogy plays as an epic riff on the entire genre. And just in case you still don’t get it, he drops allusions to these works throughout, from specific (Rowling’s “muggles,” for instance) to structural (boy-wizard trope, Lewis’s Narnia). The goal, it seems, is to be so derivative, so plagiaristic in its parts, that their sum somehow circles back in an Ouroboros of meta-magic and achieves a kind of renewed originality. The entirety of protagonist Quentin Coldwater’s journey is supposed to transcend the familiarity of its particulars. ”

Read the rest.

By Lev Grossman
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One Reply to “Jason Kehe on Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS:”

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