Some cousins recently gave us a copy of Andrew Peterson’s On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. Andrew Peterson is a songwriter, author, and father of three living here in Nashville. Our cousins gave us a copy of one of his CDs, as well. Although I usually can’t stomach contemporary Christian music, we’ve enjoyed listening to the album together. That said, what I really want to talk about in this post is the book.
This is a story about a small family with old secrets living in big a world that is both beautiful and terrifying. My wife and I had a hard time figuring out the appropriate age range for this novel, but we decided that the age of the main characters, early adolescence, is about right. It has much of what you’d expect in a fantasy novel — wonders, monsters, thrills, and adventure — but it doesn’t rely too heavily on these elements. There are at least a few gratifying nods to Wendell Berry, (!) and although his book certainly proceeds from the spirit of Lewis and Tolkein, Peterson is his own author. He is at times hilariously goofy (whatever you do, don’t skip the footnotes), and others powerfully poignant. He knows the aching of the human heart for Eden, for home, and this heartache gently nudges the reader throughout the story.
My wife and I are scrambling to get a hold of the next few books in this five-part series, and not just to find out how it ends. This is definitely one we will read to our children.