The Place of the Lion

The Place of the Lion - Charles Williams What can I say about this deeply odd book?

I'd read a couple of Charles Williams' novels along time ago. They were out of print and it was fun tracking them down, before the internet destroyed the fun of hunting for books in ramshackle stores.

The fantastical story of The Place of the Lion moves along at a fair pace. Some of the strange phenomena are rather beautifully described. Beyond that? Anomalies and contradictions... Unlike his drinking partners, Tolkien and Lewis, Williams makes explicit his Christian message in his battle between Good and Evil. This stretches credence from time to time as his rather stuffy and academic characters are turned into super-heroes. It's like imagining your local vicar transformed into the Incredible Hulk. It's not really clear whether the appalling class prejudice is Williams' own or supposed to be the folly of his characters. Much of the dialogue comes straight out of a Biggles adventure and the obscurantism of the vocabulary deployed suggests the petty elitism of Will Self.

What can I say, then? You won't read anything else like it, that's for sure...