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LIFE IN LOCKDOWN | Day 28: Listen to Philip Pullman read his famed fantasy novel 'Northern Lights'

This classic transcends all notions of so-called age limitations, making it an audio book for the whole family

23 April 2020 - 06:02 By Mila de Villiers
Listen to Philip Pullman reading 'Northern Lights', the first book in the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy.
Listen to Philip Pullman reading 'Northern Lights', the first book in the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy.
Image: MJ Kim/Getty Images

Lyra and her dæmon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen ...

Thus reads the opening sentence of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, the first book in the acclaimed UK author's His Dark Materials trilogy.

Revered by critics, condemned by the Catholic church, relished by thousands: Pullman's 1995 classic entered the global literary sphere with a purpose that skriks for niks.

It introduced us to a parallel universe in which feisty 12-year-old Oxford-based Lyra Belacqua has to journey to the Arctic in search of her missing friend Roger and imprisoned uncle, the imposing Lord Asriel, embroiled in experimenting with a mystifying substance known as “Dust”.

A quarter of a century later and the knighted writer's creation remains as captivating and thought-provoking as ever.

Aided by her dæmon (a sentient manifestation of a person's innermost self that takes the form of an animal) Pantalaimon, the panserbjørn (armoured bear) Iorek Byrnison, witch queen Serafina Pekkala and Texan aëronaut Lee Scoresby, Lyra's quest to find Roger and Lord Asriel reveals sinister truths about the authoritarian theocracy they're ruled by.

Ultimately science confronts religion in this children's fantasy/steampunk novel that transcends any and all notions of so-called age limitations.

Yes, this is one for the whole family.

And no, you don't need a hard copy — thanks to Audible, you can listen to a reading of the book by the author himself.

Click here for a solid 10 hours and 45 minutes of immersing yourself in the world of Lyra and co — a world that will linger in your mind long after Pullman’s final, richly delivered coda.

Lekker luister!

• From gripping series to watch, to fun crafts to do with your children, we'll be adding a new activity to our “Life in Lockdown” series every day. Keep an eye on timeslive.co.za for tomorrow's instalment.