Review: Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In what CS Lewis himself said was his favorite work, he retells and adapts a Greek myth to tell Christian truth.

This is not one of his most accessible works. I had the Omnibus text by Veritas Press to help me.

Four-fifths of the book is part one, where the main character Orual, a princess in a pagan land, draws up a complaint against the gods. She doubts the paganism she is raised with, and her Greek tutor tries to instill an atheistic yet virtuous rationalism in her. She half believes it, but clings to her book (what we are reading) and her complaints. Her main complaint is that the gods took her step-sister Psyche away from her.

In part two, Orual gets to read her complaint before the gods, but she sees it for the petty jealousy and craven self-love that it is, even as she reads it. She understands that she was willing to hurt Psyche rather than lose her to something greater (God). Her repentance is giving herself to Psyche, instead of demanding that Psyche be her possession.

This is an amazingly excellent study of jealousy and self-absorption, from the inside of it. The sense of the transcendent (greater beauty and being and joy) at the end is well done.

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