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At the Back of the North Wind (1871)

de George MacDonald

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2,927324,552 (3.9)87
Diamond, a young boy living in nineteenth-century London, has many adventures as he travels with the beautiful Lady North Wind and comes to know the many facets of her protective and violent temper.
  1. 11
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making de Catherynne M. Valente (rakerman)
    rakerman: Wind spirits play an important role in both The Girl and At the Back of the North Wind. The books both have aspects of wonder and sorrow, with a similar idea of a child taken away into a magical land.
  2. 00
    The Princess and the Goblin de George MacDonald (Candie.London)
  3. 00
    A Monster Calls de Patrick Ness (Cecrow)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 31 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A charming little tale, if a bit long and drawn out for a children's book (400 pages). Despite its target audience, it does cover some fairly complex themes which I imagine would sail right over most kids' heads. I enjoyed parts of it but generally found it a bit of a slog to get through.

Not wholly fantastical, instead following the fairly mundane life of a poor coachman's son called Diamond. Diamond has a magical and dream-like experience at the beginning of the book in which he encounters the North Wind, who manifests itself as a beautiful lady. She doesn't really appear again until the end of the book, but most of the story serves to show the impact that she has on young Diamond, and how he in turn impacts the rest of his family and the people he meets.

All in all, I found it ok. It's considered one of George MacDonald's best but I wasn't particularly impressed. It does, however, have an absolutely beautiful ending. ( )
  TheScribblingMan | Jul 29, 2023 |
Charming little book. Found a reference to it in an old book and sought it out on gutenberg. Not too preachy or obvious and mostly about being kind, generally. I can't help but love an animate wind. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Summary: Diamond becomes friend with the North Wind, who takes him on many adventures, even while he is a help to everyone he meets and known for his rhymes.

Diamond is a young boy, who is described as having “a tile loose,” and yet is so pleasant and helpful and even precocious that he is a delight to his parents and all those his life touches. His first bedroom is in a barn above the stable of “Old” Diamond, the faithful horse his father drives, first as a livery man and later as a cabbie. The wall behind his head has a hole in it that he and his mother both try to plug until he learns that in so doing he is plugging one of the windows of the North Wind. Diamond befriends her and goes on a number of night adventures. In one, he helps a little girl, Nanny, a street sweeper. Most of the adventures with North Wind are delightful but not all. On one, North Wind is a great storm that swamps a ship, with the loss of all but a handful aboard. At another point, he learns of the land at “the back of the North Wind,” and in a time when he is very ill, he is permitted to go there, a place North Wind herself has not gone, by passing through North Wind into a paradise-like place.

On his return, a crisis had passed in his illness, and a turning point occurred in his life, much like that of many who report near-death experiences. He has an uncanny capacity to create rhymes that soothe the baby in his home and improvise on nursery rhymes. By now his father is driving cab and he learns to handle Diamond, and takes his father’s place during illness. There is a period where he rarely encounters North Wind. But he helps Nanny who has taken sick, seeking the help of Mr. Raymond, a philanthropist, who had been a fare and was taken with the boy. While she was in the hospital, she has dreams of going to the Moon, which she tells Diamond, making him wonder if his own adventures with North Wind were real or also just dreams–or can dreams be real?

I won’t reveal the ending except to suggest that I believe Diamond discovers the answer to his questions, which remind one of the questions one might have about the life of faith. And what of the North Wind? We have both a beautiful woman who creates a nest for Diamond in her hair or holds him to her bosom, but is also a fierce power sending a ship full of people to their deaths. Is North Wind a kind of angel of death (very different than typically portrayed)? Diamond is given up for dead at the time he goes “back of the North Wind.” Death hovers over this story, as it did over life in this period where children often died young, a pregnancy could end in death, or an illness strike down a hearty man, as it nearly does Diamond’s father. There is at once an inscrutable character about death but also the assurances of One who will be near us in our dying, even a friend of the dying.

Most of us do not have near death experiences from which we return. MacDonald doesn’t shy away from this reality. In Diamond, we have one whose life is transformed by dying, “as one who has been back of the North Wind.” And the story suggests to me that when we face death’s realities and our hope for what is beyond, we also may be changed. Stern stuff for young readers in our day, but in MacDonald’s time, children became acquainted early with death and needed stories to help them live in light of its reality. As do we. ( )
1 vota BobonBooks | Jul 10, 2022 |
George MacDonald's fairy tales are a bit weird. One of his more well known novels, The Princess and the Goblin is standard fairy tale fare, but as you range further afield in his tales, the plots get more disjointed (in the "this is interesting -- let's insert it as a dream sequence!" sense) and the tone more moralizing.

That said, At the Back of the North Wind is a delightful tale of a young boy whose unique perspective on the world allows him to take adventures with the North Wind as she moves throughout the world. His perspective and his adventures affect all the people around him.

Also, it's public domain, so the Kindle download is free! ( )
  eri_kars | Jul 10, 2022 |
A sort of young forestgumplike character gets visited by a strange woman. The first third or so of the book is really good as you meet the suitably ethereal spirit of the North Wind and also get some info on the dark-side of life for poor children at the time.
Unfortunately the author seems to run out of ideas later and fills out the story with poems and in one case an entire fairytale which has nothing to do with anything and seems purely there to take up more pages.
Finally the ending is tame and disappointing. Nevertheless those early chapters were enough to keep me from regretting the experience. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 31 (següent | mostra-les totes)

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (14 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
George MacDonaldautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Bedford, Francis DonkinIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Browning, ColleenIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hauman, DorisIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hauman, GeorgeIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hughes, ArthurIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kirk, Maria L.Il·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mills, Lauren A.Il·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mozley, CharlesIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Shepard, E.H.Il·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Smith, Jessie WillcoxIl·lustradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Thomas, Alan M.Introduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I have been asked to tell you about the back of the North Wind. An old Greek writer mentions a people who lived there, and were so comfortable that they could not bear it any longer, and drowned themselves. My story is not the same as his.
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This is the main work for At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald. Please do not combine with any omnibus containing additional works, or with any abridgement, adaptation, etc.
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Diamond, a young boy living in nineteenth-century London, has many adventures as he travels with the beautiful Lady North Wind and comes to know the many facets of her protective and violent temper.

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Mitjana: (3.9)
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2 13
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