THE CHILD THAT BOOKS BUILT Francis Spufford, Faber, 211 pages, paperback, NZ$24.95. ISBN 0-571-21467-3
“In a hole in the ground lived a hobbit.” That was the first sentence Francis Spufford read. “And then I never stopped again.” In adulthood, he had the brilliant idea of re-reading his childhood books to find how they affected him, then and now. Spufford has achieved much more, producing a fascinating account of how literature and imagination interact.
This memoir gives us fresh insights into Little House on the Prairie, Scout, Narnia, Ursula Le Guin, myths, science fiction and Lewis Carroll but it also makes us look at the formation of the human mind and personality.
A book for all book-lovers.
This review first appeared in the Press, Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2005.