Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Challenge: A Book a Friend Recommended

Book: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Pages: 201
Date Read: 11:30pm January 18 - 1:00am January 19, 2015
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 
Recommended by: Joshua Fagg

Other Categories this book could 
have fit into:
A book with nonhuman characters
A funny book
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
A book you can finish in a day - (or a single sitting)
A book that made you cry
A book with magic
"Magic is always impossible," said the magician. "It begins with the impossible and ends with the impossible and is impossible in between. That is why it is magic."
Kate DiCamillo is steadily becoming my favorite author. Her prose is poetry; wondrous, delicious. Even moments that aren't sad make me cry because they're so unbearably beautiful.
"Have you, in truth, ever seen something so heartbreakingly lovely? What are we to make of a world where stars shine bright in the midst of so much darkness and gloom?"
Elements of this story are kind of unsettling. And there's an anti-war motif that I really didn't like. In fact, I almost gave the book four stars because of it. But, on reflection, I decided that it's ok. You don't have to agree with something to love it. This book is beautiful, and has a lot of truth -- Sister Marie's dream is one of the most breathtaking things I have ever read. And, honestly, I don't necessarily disagree with the views on war -- it is horrible, and often pointless. But I felt like there was some disrespect to soldiers by the complete dismissal of war, as though it never matters, as though it's never necessary. However, this was somewhat countered by the realization that Vilna Lutz is not actually a villain, but a completely sympathetic character. In the end, I decided the war motif was more intriguing than offensive; it's good to read things you disagree with sometimes.
But I know something. I know something. What is it I know? ... Ah, yes, I know what I know. Life is funny. That is what I know. 
I filled an entire page of my notebook with quotes from this little novel. I almost wrote down Sister Marie's entire dream, before reflecting that I own the book and therefore that might be a little excessive.
"But perhaps you do not understand, I was crippled by an elephant! Crippled by an elephant that came through the roof!"
I highly recommend this sad, dark, beautiful little book. As usual in Kate DiCamillo's work, there is pain and beauty, darkness and light, all wrapped up into one simple, or not so simple, story.
The impossible has happened again.

1 comment:

Ginny-Gin-Gin said...

Mmm, I'll have to read it! Kate DiCamillo was one of my favorites growing up, but I've kind of lost track of her books (which is my loss!).