June 17, 2004
Read These Books Now
Here’s a Philip Pullman love-fest from the BoGlo’s incomparable Ideas section.
But the thing is, Philip Pullman deserves love-fests:
Philip Pullman’s trilogy, “His Dark Materials,” is marketed for readers 12 and up, most of whom know nothing of the sources behind Pullman’s gripping story about two children who join forces with an armored polar bear, a Texan hot-air balloonist, a pair of fallen angels, and a host of other fantastic characters to crisscross parallel universes in order to defeat a theocratic state bent on destroying human consciousness and thus the world itself. [What more do you need to know?? —Snark.]
But like the Harry Potter series (to which they are infinitely superior), Pullman’s novels are a crossover hit. In 2001, the third volume, “The Amber Spyglass,” became the first young-adult novel to win Britain’s prestigious Whitbread Prize. The quality press in America has tuned in to their appeal: Louis Menand of The New Yorker recently assessed the hit London stage adaptation, and Michael Chabon, himself the author of a delightful young-adult novel about baseball in parallel universes, published a substantial appreciation of the trilogy in The New York Review of Books.