Fans of Philip Pullman’s epic His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy will be delighted to hear that the author has a new companion trilogy, the first of which will be published on October 19. The introductory book to Pullman’s new trilogy will be called The Book of Dust and will take place where His Dark Materials trilogy left off.
His Dark Materials was comprised of three three volumes of books that include The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. These Philip Pullman novels were published between the years 1995 and 2000, and the series has been translated into 40 different languages, with 17.5 million copies sold, as NPR reports.
At the start of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, readers saw action in different parallel worlds, with a subtle blending of various disciplines including particle physics and theology. The protagonist in this trilogy was Lyra Belacqua, an intelligently precocious and outspoken young girl.
The Book of Dust will see Pullman revisiting his original trilogy, although he was quick to point out that his new novel is not merely a follow-up to the original series, but should be considered a companion piece instead. Philip Pullman also makes a point of telling readers that they don’t necessarily need to read His Dark Materials before they embark on his new series.
“The new story begins before His Dark Materials and continues after it. You don’t have to read it before you read the original trilogy. This is another story that comes after it, so it’s not a sequel, and it’s not a prequel, it’s an equal.”
The title of Philip Pullman’s new companion to His Dark Materials is suitably ambiguous, with The Book of Dust referencing an invisible substance that readers will recognize from his other novels. Pullman describes how he wanted to delve deeper into the meaning of “dust” and how it relates to consciousness, along with the meaning of human nature. His new book seeks to be philosophical as well as scientific in its approach.
“That’s what I really wanted to explore in this new work. More about the nature of Dust, and consciousness, and what it means to be a human being.”
— Blackwell’s (@blackwellbooks) February 15, 2017
The Guardian makes note of the fact that Philip Pullman is going to be invoking the spirit of William Blake in his new story, with a worldview in The Book of Dust which will be defined by its unique simplicity with the idea that everything is black or white, a notion that Blake protested against.
“Dust is an analogy of consciousness, and consciousness is this extraordinary property we have as human beings. The story I’m telling in this book is more about in terms of William Blake’s vision, his idea of a fiercely reductive way of seeing things: it’s right or wrong; it’s black or white. He said that was far too limiting and we should bring out truer human vision when we see things, surround them all with a sort of penumbra of imagination and memories and hopes and expectations and fears and all these things.”
With so many years having passed since Philip Pullman originally wrote His Dark Materials, he realized that the characters in this trilogy were still inhabiting his head and felt as though they deserved a new life in The Book of Dust. Pullman further states that with such a big story, these characters deserved a second chance at immortality between the pages of a new book.
“I sensed a big story. I sensed the presence, in the way that you do, of another story that hadn’t been told, and I went closer and thought about it and lived with it for a while and discovered that yes, it was a big story, and it did deserve to be told, it deserves its own books.”
Have you read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and are you looking forward to his latest installment with The Book of Dust?
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