The Magicians surprised me. It took the comfortable worlds of my childhood (Middle Earth, Narnia, and Hogwarts) and soiled them. It was unsettling but, in its own way, magical as well. It resonated with me because I am very familiar with the subject of Grossman’s critique and beacuse I can distinguish between the rose-colored glass of childhood and life as surveyed through a glass of chambertin (see footnote). The underlying moral, at least the one I took away from this – that you cannot escape yourself but must find a way to live with yourself – may have been long in coming, requiring a lot of patience by the reader, but it was one I am glad I reached nonetheless.
Footnote: From Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers – “Life is a chaplet of little miseries which the philosopher shakes with a laugh. Be philosophers, as I am, gentlemen; sit down at the table and let us drink. Nothing makes the future look so bright as surveying it through a glass of chambertin.”