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Lev Grossman's 'The Magician King': Author Talks His New Book And Why Fantasy Is 'Culturally Radioactive'

Lev Grossman The Magician King

First Posted: 08/10/11 08:32 AM ET Updated: 10/10/11 06:12 AM ET

Lev Grossman loves fantasy. He loves it so much, he writes about loving fantasy within his own fantasy novels. Grossman, who keeps his day job as a book critic for Time, released "The Magician King" Tuesday, the sequel to his well-loved novel, "The Magicians." The books follow the story of a young boy in Brooklyn, Quentin Coldwater, who is an avid reader of a fantasy series, until he stumbles into the very magical world he had previously only inhabited in books.

Given this premise, "The Magicians" and "The Magician King" -- which take their cue from "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Harry Potter" and "A Wizard of Earthsea" -- work on a meta level, acting as both fantasy novels and an homage to the fantasy novel. In an interview with The Huffington Post's Amy Lee and Paul Needham, Grossman discussed his decision to have a fantasy fan as his protagonist, explaining that it was born out of a desire for "everything that exists in our world to exist in his world."

He extends this thought to J.K. Rowling, who he feels missed a big opportunity to make Harry a fantasy-novel reader before he enters Hogwarts. "He looks like a 'Narnia' fan to me," Grossman said.

Aside from Potter, Grossman expanded on how much the fantasy genre has changed in the past 10 years, why fantasy novels are still treated as "culturally radioactive" by the mainstream press and what it feels like to be an author on one end and a book critic on the other.

Watch HuffPost Culture's interview with Grossman:


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Filed by Gazelle Emami  |