Recommended Reading For Christians - At The Back of the North Wind by George Macdonald - A Review

George MacDonald's Christian Classic
George MacDonald's Christian Classic
Diamond, listening to the sound of the North Wind
Diamond, listening to the sound of the North Wind

If you haven't guessed already, At The Back Of The North Wind is one of my favorite books. It tells the tale of a young boy named Diamond. His father named him Diamond after a favorite horse which he groomed. So Diamond the boy was named after Diamond the horse. He was a sickly boy but though he was often sick, he would never get discouraged and often brought happiness to his family even when there were difficult times.

One cold night, when Diamond is ill, he meets the North Wind and she takes him for a journey on her back. It is a great adventure and he becomes great friends with the North Wind. The North Wind comes to him often but sometimes there is a long time in between before he sees her. Diamond is a very kind boy and is merciful and compassionate to all whom he meets but there is something about him which people do not understand and so they mock him.

One day the North Wind takes him to the land which is at the back of the North Wind and there everything is as it should be. The land is a perfect land and all is well in it. Diamond almost forgets the world as he knew it. But North Wind takes him back to it and after that he longs for the land again.

Time passes and Diamond has a little brother whom he adores. He sings songs to him about North Wind and about the land at the back of the North Wind. These songs are so enchanting that no one quite understands how a little boy could make up such stuff. Soon Diamond becomes very ill and sadness comes over his family. But Diamond is not unhappy because the North Wind comes back for him to go to live in that lovely country forever.

Music composed for the radio drama based upon the book. The composer explains the music surrounding the North Wind

An Adventure For Children and Parents Alike

The story is one that can be enjoyed by both parents and children. It is one that is bittersweet but full of hope that there is life after death.Ever since mankind fell there has been death and children often face death as well.

If you like C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series or J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy then you should like At the Back of the North Wind because both authors were inspired by George Macdonald who wrote this great piece of classical literature.

Lewis' characters enter another world through the wardrobe and Diamond enters another world via the North Wind. Tolkien's elves leave to go to the Grey Havens just as Diamond leaves to go to the country that is located at the back of the North Wind. All three authors firmly believed that there is life after death and such a thing as Heaven.

It is also a bit like Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Little Match Girl' in that it introduces empathy and makes you feel what the character feels. It brings sadness but you still feel contentment that there was peace and love at the end.

The Little Match Girl by Anne Anderson
The Little Match Girl by Anne Anderson | Source

If you have ever met a child who still manages to be bright and happy, hopeful and kind even when terrible things are happening around him/her then At The Back of the North Wind will make you rememember that child happily and fondly. Perhaps you were that child once upon a time and today life has made you harder than you would like to be. The story reminds us that we can all be like Diamond and have hope and it is also one that reminds us how precious children are.

© 2010 North Wind

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Comments 4 comments

Caleb DRC profile image

Caleb DRC 4 years ago

Hi North Wind, I've been very busy and have been away from Hubpages for quite a while.

Well, you described the book quite well, but tell me why it has captured your heart. What is the essence of its message? Has something in your life caused you to connect so securely to its messages? Does it whisk you into a world in which--even though you may never have lived it--you greatly miss it?

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Hi Caleb DRC,

It is nice to 'see' you back :)

When I first read At The Back of The North Wind, I happened to know a little boy who fit Diamond's description. He was sickly, like Diamond was, and he was mostly alone all of the time but his character was a bit different to Diamond's. In the book Diamond gets to know a bit about suffering and how and why it happens. He comes to understand God's will concerning things in a simple way. The simplicity of Diamond's ability to have such trust and faith is hard for the characters in the book to accept and yet how Diamond believes, the joy he receives in knowing of the land beyond appealed to me. His faith was a faith I admired.

So to answer your questions - it captured my heart because of its message - God is in control and His ways are not our ways. It captured my heart because something - or rather someone - in my life caused me to connect to its message and it captured my heart because it did whisk me into a world that I have never lived. The place at the back of the North Wind, as I understand it, I suppose I could miss, though I have never been there because I do yearn for it and hope to be there someday.

The boy I knew still lives but instead of growing in grace for the Lord, he drifts more and more into the world. He is still ill and it is doubly sad.

Caleb DRC profile image

Caleb DRC 4 years ago

Just as carbon is forged into a magnificent diamond with pressure and heat, so too is one's character forged into a tough and indestructible quality--derived from God. Sickness is one of those pressures, and is usually accompanied by heat. I believe its purpose is to extirpate insouciance to God, or sins against God; however, if we do not respond with obedience to Christ, then rather than forging us into stalwartness, it will crush us into a useless mass.

North Wind profile image

North Wind 4 years ago from The World (for now) Author

Beautifully expressed, Caleb, and very true. How do you manage to explain things in such a way? As in the Book of Job, when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold and as in the Book of Samuel, obedience is better than sacrifice.

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