This 500+ page book probably could have been two or three volumes. There is so much information in this book that, at times, it was intimidating. Still, I give it five stars, simply because of the wealth of knowledge and pure enjoyment at learning so much about some of my favorite authors.
I had heard of The Inklings before, and always thought wistfully of them, wishing that I had a group of friends like that. But then I realize that circumstances in my own world today simply don’t lend themselves to a fellowship group that could meet every Tuesday morning and every Thursday evening. Our jobs kind of get in the way of all of that.
There were a lot more Inklings than just the four mentioned in the title of this book, and while I had heard of Charles Williams, I have yet to read any of his work. Owen Barfield, I was completely unfamiliar with.
The Zaleki’s have given us a gem, here. I must admit that there were times, especially in the discussion of Owen Barfield and “Anthroposophy” (I’m still not exactly quite sure what the means) that it went completely over my head. Those were the hardest parts to get through.
To me, the most amazing thing is that these four men were even friends. They were so different in so many ways. Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic. Lewis was an atheist when he and Tolkien first met, and became a Christian, but an Anglican, not Catholic. Barfield dabbled in some very strange stuff (look up Anthroposophy), stuff that we, today, would consider “New Age.” Turns out there’s nothing “new” about it. And Williams, while Christian dabbled in “magic.” Yet the four of these, along with countless others, were great friends and colleagues, constantly reading to one another and critiquing each others’ work.
It took me over a month to read this book, but it was well worth it. It has made me want to read more from each of these authors, and, hopefully, in the coming year, I will have that opportunity.