Lyra's Oxford is a short book by Philip Pullman depicting an episode involving the heroine of His Dark Materials , Pullman's best-selling trilogy. Lyra's Oxford is set when Lyra Belacqua is 15, two years after the end of the trilogy. Lyras Oxford His Dark Materials The book consists mainly of an illustrated short story, "Lyra and the Birds". A fold-out map of "Oxford by Train, River and Zeppelin" is bound in the book, a fictional map of the Oxford that exists in Lyra's world. It also includes some advertisements for books and travellers' catalogues. Two pages from a Baedeker published in Lyra's world including entries for the Eagle Ironworks , the Oxford Canal , the Fell Press and the Oratory of St Barnabas the Chymist, all in the Jericho area of Lyra's Oxford , a postcard from the character Mary Malone , and a brochure for the cruise ship Zenobia are also included. The postcard contains four images of sites in the His Dark Materials trilogy: the physics lab in which Mary Malone works, the house occupied by Lord Boreal , the row of hornbeam trees where Will first discovered a window between the worlds, and the bench where Lyra and Will have pledged to visit each other in spirit once a year.
This captivating, slight, somewhat overpriced stocking-filler of a book has one outstanding merit for Philip Pullman's legion of readers. It answers, encouragingly, the question left hanging by the His Dark Materials trilogy.
Having created, then parted, Lyra and Will - two of the most enticing heroes in children's or any literature - what more can Pullman do with them? A future together for the children and their developing love seemed to be closed in the last volume of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.
It was apparently debarred by the terms of the voluntary self-sacrifice needed to save their alternative Lyras Oxford His Dark Materials, and the multiple worlds around them. The ending brought thousands of readers aged between eight and 60 to tears. If you delve among the inconsistencies and incomplete plot threads of The Amber Spyglass, you can find authentic grounds for a reprieve.
Angels, we are told, can still move freely between worlds, and other routes exist. If this is permitted to angels, the highest and bossiest beings in the author's republican theology, why not to the children who have done more for the universe than any being?
It can be argued that these radical rebel angels are behaving like true oligarchs, hoarding knowledge, resources and privileges for themselves. However, it is Pullman, inconsistent or otherwise, who is running the show. And curiously this gentle, agnostic liberal-humanist visionary is resolute in imposing on the children an ethic harder than his reviled Christian predecessor CS Lewis would have dared in the Narnia books.
He has promised further stories about aspects of the trilogy's characters. On paper, this sounds a dubious enterprise.
Who wants to know more about the separate lives of Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, before the great dramas began? Lyra's Oxford shows it to be viable. The page story is cut from the living wood of the author's imaginative world and comes instantly to life in its own right. It opens with Lyra, two years older than in the trilogy, on the roof of Jordan College with Pantalaimon.
She is now at school, but she bunks off that as she once did her college duties. Flying towards them, they see a thrush-type creature which is being attacked by other birds. It's a witch's daemon, and it brings a life-or-death appeal to them from the Arctic, the setting of the first Lyra novel, Northern Lights.
To say much more would be to mar the surprises of a brief tale. It introduces two new characters who clearly have legs for future adventures: the shrewd, friendly young scholar Dr Polstead, and the reputedly mad alchemist Sebastian Makepeace. There is a wound from the past: "Since she and Will had parted Lyras Oxford His Dark Materials binding on my copy has not adequately stood up to use of the engraved fold-out map of Lyra's city as chronicled in the trilogy, with its Zeppelin station on Oxpens Road and steam trains at Oxford station.
What I expect to remember longer is a new image from the story, of all the animate creatures of the city striving clumsily to protect this obdurate girl, in gratitude for what she has done for their universe. It is one of those grand narrative strokes that Pullman can sometimes pull off with such casual-looking ease and faith.
This book is that gift working in miniature.
This charming edition is a must for Pullman fans. But as this unlikely trio scours the winding streets of Oxford in search of a famed alchemist, their journey takes a deadly turn… This volume also includes a fold-out map of Oxford and fascinating extra glimpses of our favorite characters. The book is illustrated throughout with woodcut illustrations by John Lawrence. This exciting companion to His Dark Materials tells a not-to-be-missed story about Lyra and her world. Look Inside. This collectible hardcover volume includes a short story by Mr.
Topics Books. Children and teenagers Philip Pullman reviews. Reuse this content. Most popular.