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My Map of Narnia

Aug 13,2013
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I’ve decided to spend my writer-in-residency here at Inside A Dog telling you about some of my favourite things. The only difficulty is narrowing it down!

“The world is so full of a number of things,” said Robert Louis Stevenson, “I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” Incidentally, he wrote Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, so he probably didn’t always feel like that. BUT ANYWAY.

Here are The Things! 

File 162681. My Map of Narnia

I have the most extraordinary thing. It is a poster-sized map of Narnia. It was published by Puffin in the UK in 1972, and I have had it ever since I was ten years old, when I discovered it in a bookshop in Sydney. I grew up with it pinned up in my bedroom. Then eventually I got it framed, and now it hangs in the room where I have written most of my books. It means a great deal to me, because when I was a child I was passionate about the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. I still think they are unique. But it’s also true that artists and illustrators have always been very important to me — particularly the artists and illustrators connected to my favourite children’s books — and I think this imaginary map is an exquisite piece of artwork. (My all-time favourite book cover is the original Puffin one for The Magician’s Nephew, also by Pauline Baynes). 

If I was to go a little further though, I could say that it has a special significance to me because it is a map. 

I am the kind of person who needs a map for her life. A map and a compass! (The compass is my heart.) A map can never insure you against the difficult or unexpected, of course — the abrupt changes in weather, the walks that seem longer than they did on paper and the climbs that feel more rugged, the dragons, the enchanted castles, the witches, the fear, the confusion and, worst of all, the times when you lose hope. Sometimes maps are wrong anyway! But I think it makes all the difference to know what direction you are trying to go in — even if what you find on the journey is completely different from what you expected. 

I don’t really care where I end up. All I care about is where I’m trying to go. And every day, metaphorically, I consult my map of Narnia, and my compass heart. I feel like they point me in the right direction.

Which book's map would keep you pointed in right direction? 

 

Next post: Katoomba

 

Nov 26,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

I have that one, too. Such a nice post, thanks!

Aug 21,2013

Wow, that map looks stunning. I'm just going to take a minute to admire it.

*a minute later* Okay. I've read several books when the world is mapped out, but nothing really stood out for me. At least, not from my immediate memory. Hm. Maybe I'll revisit some favourites with my newfound appreciation for maps. x)

Aug 16,2013

The map of Abarat. I could very well say that this is one of the best book series out there, written and illustrated by Clive Barker. A work of pure genius and imagination. I love the setting of it - an archipelago of twenty five islands where each island is an hour (yes, time is now a location), and the twenty fifth island is past, present and future all rolled into one.

Link to image of the Abarat, as depicted by the author of the series:

http://www.thebookpirate.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/The-Islands-of-the-Abarat-clive-barker-398631_800_600.jpg

Aug 15,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

JRR Tolkien's great fold out maps of Middle Earth in the original hard cover editions amazed me when I first read them when I was 12. At the time I thought, if there's maps, it must be real, or very nearly so (which sometimes is almost better).

Aug 14,2013

O_O That map is AHMAYZING. You know what? I would now love to re-read the series with that map in my possession, tracing the journey as I read. Maybe I'll do it in a wardrobe full of fur coats. With Turkish Delights on the side? Hmm.. not sure abot that one, but for the rest, I think that makes for the best Narnia Experience Ever.

I absolutely cannot wait to read about the other exquisite favourites you have to share. No pressure ^_^

Aug 14,2013

There was a very unconventional film made by the New Zealand director Vincent Ward in 1992 called Map of the Human Heart. I love that title!  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map_of_the_Human_Heart

Aug 13,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

my first thought was that my Map of Life is the map in Norman Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth - I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not. maybe I should re-read the book and decide...

Deborah

Aug 13,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

The Mily-Molly-Mandy books by Joyce Lancaster Brisley from the 1920s had maps of the heroine's village inside the front and (I think) back covers. Here is a link to an amazing site called The Imaginary Atlas: http://www.imaginaryatlas.com/2013/05/30/where-milly-molly-mandy-lives/

Aug 13,2013
anonymous's picture
Anonymous

I adore maps as well and never really thought about their significance. Many childhood books had maps in the 1980s and 1970s.

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