“Till We Have Faces” by C. S. Lewis

My friend of the book lists (see link below) missed an important category – the “I don’t get it” list. (He generously says that such books might belong on the “need to read it again” list.) In the case of “Till We Have Faces” by C. S. Lewis, I’m baffled, and not curious enough for a repeat read.

Why DID I read “Till We Have Faces”? It was selected by a discussion group I often attend. I couldn’t get to the group meeting, but decided to read the book anyway.

So what have we got? The book is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. The god Cupid plays a very minor role. Psyche was human but noble and possibly on her way to being a god. The plot has fairy tale elements – older sister vs younger sister, evil parent sacrifices child (oops, that’s the Bible). For good measure, throw in the conflict between reason and superstition.

The story line is interesting enough – after losing her beautiful, young sister as a sacrificial offering, how does the ugly sister (Orual) gain the skills to assume her father’s crown and reign successfully? The book begins as a rant against the Gods, by whom Orual feels she was terribly wronged.

Toward the end, the plot fades and nothing is left but religious and philosophical ramblings. A myth is deconstructed and subjected to the logic of a very much later generation. I don’t get it…


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