Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling (Hardcover)
This collection of essays, lovingly edited and curated by Simon Mason, is something I never knew I wanted from Philip Pullman. Despite covering wide-ranging topics (one essay might examine Milton’s Paradise Lost, while the next dives into a Stephen Hawking lecture), the common thread of storytelling ties everything neatly together. Pullman’s own comfortable style and humor prevents these daunting subjects from becoming overwhelming, even to an inexperienced essay-reader such as myself—and of course, frequent insights into Pullman’s own His Dark Materials trilogy thrill my inner child. -Chester— From Winter Gazette 2018
From the internationally best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, a spellbinding journey into the secrets of his art--the narratives that have shaped his vision, his experience of writing, and the keys to mastering the art of storytelling.
One of the most highly acclaimed and best-selling authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story--from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others--and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and the methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself.
About the Author
PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed and best-selling writers at work today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He lives in Oxford, England.
To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com or follow him on facebook at Philip Pullman author, and on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.
Recipient of an Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award
"These essays cast a spell. . . To read them is to be invigorated by the company of a joyfully wide-ranging, endlessly curious and imaginative mind. . . a delightful jaunt. . ."—The New York Times Book Review
"A splendid collection. . . literary insights that will enrich and inspire."—The Wall Street Journal
“Few contemporary writers of imaginative fiction are able to explore large ethical and moral issues authoritatively, accommodating both intellect and emotion. . . Pullman achieves this without abandoning personal responsibility. . . This wide-ranging excursion maintains impressive coherence and is bound to satisfy devoted Pullman readers curious about his illuminating observations and why the appetite for—and value of—fiction is universal, from fire-lit cave to seminar room.”—Library Journal
"A thoughtful collection. . . Despite his declaration in an early piece that, outside of knowing "what it feels like to write a story," Pullman doesn't consider himself an authority on the subject, these smart, insightful, and often humorous essays make it clear that is exactly what he is.”—Bustle
"This anthology of speeches, articles, and forewords by His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman offers fascinating insight into why, and how, a great fantasy author writes. Writers or storytellers of any kind who despair that their craft is self-indulgent will likely appreciate Pullman's thoughts on why fiction is a valuable part of the human experience.”—The Portalist
"Remarkably astute. . . Daemon Voices is a wonderful distillation of decades of writing and thinking about what goes into storytelling. Like his best books, it has a richness of ideas in its wide breadth of topics and illuminating conclusions."—The A. V. Club
“Pullman can unwind certain dense topics as lyrically as a poet.”—The Christian Science Monitor
"[Daemon Voices] reads as if you’re having a highly illuminating conversation with a genius about how the storytelling sausage is made. It’s a portrait of a writer turned inside out, and anyone involved in the same endeavor will feel slightly less insane for having read it.”—Santa Fe New Mexican
"Pullman offers meaty but always lucidly argued ruminations on the nature of story. . . these articles, talks, and introductory essays consistently demonstrate that Pullman. . . is as fine a thinker as he is a storyteller. . . A collection of pieces infused with abundant wisdom, provocative notions, and illuminating insights."—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
"This collection of 32 talks, published articles, and prefaces written between 1997 and 2014 by children’s writer Pullman (La Belle Sauvage) addresses “the business of the storyteller” with the quiet confidence of a master craftsmen sharing the tricks of his trade. Though Pullman claims no authority beyond knowing “what it feels like to write a story,” the essays delineate and defend the real work of fiction to nourish imagination, shape moral understanding, and, above all, delight. The book progresses from how stories work—“the aim must always be clarity”—to why they matter, along the way peeking into Pullman’s inspirations (notably including William Blake, Robert Burton, John Milton, and the Grimm brothers), pet peeves (“I shall say no more about our current educational system”), and process. Democratic in his philosophy, materialist in his beliefs (“this world is where the things are that matter”), and with a droll humor that occasionally approaches whimsy, Pullman employs a confiding, ruminative tone, a sharply analytical eye, and a vocabulary free of pedantry or cant to insist on the central value of a sense of wonder. The book is a toolbox stacked with generous, sensible advice for writers and thinkers who agree with Pullman that stories “are not luxuries; they’re essential to our wellbeing.”—Publishers Weekly