Simon Mason compiles over thirty essays spanning twenty years of Philip Pullman’s career. In Daemon Voices, Pullman’s magnificent non-fiction writings approach the topics of stories and storytelling from a variety of angles.
Stories aren’t made of language: they’re made of
something else. A little earlier I said that stories
were about life; perhaps they’re made of life.
The essays are compiled from talks, lectures, newspaper articles, and other works of Pullman’s from over the past twenty years. It covers all sorts of topics, from writing children’s books, giving in to the lure of fantasy, analysis of Milton’s Paradise Lost, biblical narratives, and more.
I first picked this up all the way back in July, and I finally finished reading it this week! The great thing about this collection of essays is that it’s so easy to dip in and out of. Some essays are only a few pages long, whilst others form more substantial and complex chapters. With any collection of pre-existing writings, there’s likely to be some repetition. With Daemon Voices, there are a few ideas which Pullman returns to in several essays but always examines them from a different perspective and uses them to a different end. It never felt repetitive, more like a refrain that echos throughout the works.
The variety of the essays coupled with Pullman’s wonderful writing means this is a great collection full of entertaining, enlightening and informative essays that I’ve found myself referring back to several times since finishing Daemon Voices. Pullman’s writing is always accessible and warm.
It’s a perfect collection for writers, fans of children’s literature, or just stories in general.
Rating: 4 / 5 stars