The above is an illustration from early on in the book.
One of the reasons that I am especially enjoying Phantastes is because it's an allegory, sort of like the Narnia stories. I know that George MacDonald was a Christian, and I know that the book was intended to be an allegory, but at first I was having trouble actually defining the parallels between this and the Christian life. However, there is a parallel. For instance, Anodos, the main character, opens a door although he has been warned not to, and his shadow comes out of the door and begins following him. His shadow is dark and evil and makes Anodos uncomfortable, and I imagine that this is supposed to represent sin in our lives, which follows us around and bothers our consciences. Anodos looks for relief from his dark shadow, but he does not know where to find it, and this is like the lost man who is dissatisfied with sin and cannot find relief from it.
Aside from the allegorical aspects, the story itself is, so far, very interesting, if hard to read. I sometimes have trouble following the actual story line, although as I am reading it on an electronic device, that might have something to do with it. :)
One thing I really like is how all the trees and flowers are really fairies, ogres, or enchantresses. That definitely livens it up a bit, especially since the Ash, which is an ogre, takes an instant dislike to Anodos.
For sure this novel is turning out to be a really good read, and I am looking forward to reading more so that I can post more about it.
Thanks for reading.