About Mary Marston, from George MacDonald, A Writer’s Life
“In Mary Marston, like Paul Faber Surgeon from two years earlier, we find ourselves in the midst of another “extended sower parable.” In both books, MacDonald allows us to witness a broad range of human responses to truth—from those characters in whom the seed strikes no root, to those in whom it is choked out by worldly cares, to those Satan has in his grasp, to those others whose soil is rich and in whom God’s priorities flourish.
“It is almost as if MacDonald opens this book with an unspoken first line that reads, “Behold, a sower went out to sow…” And with that as his foundation, he sets up an intriguing array of diverse characters, gives us something of their background and situations, and then proceeds to let them interact with one another. The threads between them are occasionally loose. We as readers meet many individuals, though within the world of the story, some of them never cross paths the others.
“Taken together, their individual lives make fascinating reading. They are so diverse, sometimes so petty and foolish, their intertwining relationships so humorous at times. And as we watch Mary, Tom, Hesper, Letty, Sepia, Joseph, Mr. Turnbull, Mr. Redmain, Godfrey and Mrs. Wardour, Mewks, and the others, we observe human growth at work—sometimes forward, sometimes backward, but always progressing in one direction or the other—sometimes straight, sometimes crooked. It is a complex character mix in many shades of gray, without easily identifiable good and bad, many of the individuals containing complicated character flaws without easy resolutions. I find it one of the most real array of characters in the MacDonald corpus…”
Michael Phillips’ newly updated editions of all of MacDonald’s novels—including expanded and lengthier new editions of those he edited back in the 1980s—comprise THE CULLEN COLLECTION, in honor of the village in Scotland where MacDonald wrote and set his classic, Malcolm. The collection also includes a monumental new bibliographic biography, George MacDonald, A Writer’s Life. Twelve books are available as of this writing (see sidebar at right), including two that went live on Amazon just this past Sunday: At the Back of the North Wind and Mary Marston.
Introductory price of only $11!