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The Great Divorce [Kindle Edition]

C. S. Lewis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (781 customer reviews)

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Book Description

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil. 



Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy: the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald; and upon boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood, the narrator is taken to Heaven and Hell. The book's primary message is presented with almost oblique tidiness--"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" However, the narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for many readers. Lewis has a genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception, and this book is tremendously persistent in forcing its reader to consider the ultimate consequences of everyday pettiness. --Michael Joseph Gross

Review

“Much deserves to be quoted... attractive imagery, amusing satire, exciting speculations... Lewis rouses curiosity about life after death only to sharpen awareness of this world.” (Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
350 of 359 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Only C.S. Lewis can write a story like this. A man takes a bus ride through Hell, then Heaven and witnesses the choices made by others in their lives.
The vivid stories within the story show that indecision is still a decision... it underscores the petty things in our lives that we allow to dominate us, things that will still plague us in Hell for eternity if we don't abandon them.
Lewis' concepts (fantasized, of course) of the substance of spirit versus the substance of flesh and blood are incredibly thought provoking. There are mental images I got from reading this book that I will never forget.
It is basic truth - you choose life, you choose death, or you choose not to choose. You will either give up the things that are holding you down (whether they be bitter resentments, anger, material gain, control, etc.) or you will cling to them until they become your master and you their slave.
The book presents these concepts in such a non-threatening way that you've gotten a life lesson that you don't realize until you've finished this short, yet vibrant book.
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171 of 179 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Images of Heaven and Hell May 15, 2000
Format:Paperback
Although this book is written as a novella, it contains TONS of thinly disguised theological truths and brain-shaking ideas. This is one of those books where everything means something. Every bit of the scenic description of Heaven and Hell reveals something that Lewis believes to be true about the two places and how people respond to them. Other fascinating things about this book are the fictional characters and seeing how different types of people respond to being in Heaven. There is one man who realizes that now that he is in Heaven, and in the presence of God, he is no longer useful. But he doesn't want to start feeling useless, and so cannot enter the presence of God--because in Heaven God provides for everyone's needs. This book really makes you contemplate whether Christianity is more about the journey or the destination. It's entertaining and full of wisdom, and is a must-read.
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48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I don't think Lewis meant to "preach to the choir." He knows that many fine people deny Christianity because they think its a naive and silly belief. Lewis understands the skeptics mind and speaks directly to it. He isn't an entrenched, Christian Theologian, he is a normal man who speaks planely. In fact he almost always prefaces his books by downplaying his own knowledge of Christian Theology. This make Lewis very approachable, yet intellectually sound.
Unlike the other reviewers, I am not a Christian and I have read and enjoyed this book. Lewis was a die-hard ATHEIST before he became christian. He was a brilliant intellectual and made the leap of faith, not because he got hit on the head, but because he objectively analyzed the Bible. His background alone puts me immediatley at ease when I read him. He won't try to manipulate the facts to push you toward Christ. He just lays down his ideas, with nothing up his sleaves and lets you make of it what you will. Unlike many Christian apologists, he knows that you can't be forced into Christianity (God Knows Many Have Tried).
Skeptics, myself included, should read at least some of Lewis. I suggest Mere Christianity as a primer and then The Great Divorce. If you are a responsible intellectual, unsatisfied with other "Christian" apologies, and looking for concrete answers concerning the Christian Faith, it would be foolish to ignore Lewis.
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118 of 126 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A miniature masterpiece January 4, 2000
Format:Paperback
Some folks only know Beethoven for his 9th symphony. Some folks only know C.S. Lewis for one of his "greater" works. (Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia etc..) What a loss. Anyone who has read any C.S. Lewis should make the time over the course of their lives to read THIS C.S. Lewis. I loved this book. No writer in the twentieth century ever hit the nail more directly on the head when dealing with human nature than did Clive Staples Lewis. This book is a perfect example of his talent in this area. Not even the Screwtape Letters did it better. I heartily recommend this book to all readers.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT DIVORCE May 28, 2002
By K. Jump
Format:Paperback
As Lewis explains in his preface, The Great Divorce is a response to the attitude of William Blake, among others, that someday there will be an ideal union of the secular and divine, or Heaven and Hell. Unable to see how this could ever be, Lewis wrote The Great Divorce to explore the issue further. The result is a religous allegory of the highest caliber and impeccable, nearly frightening, insight.
As with all allegories, The Great Divorce relies on symbolism to make its point. Lewis admits his book is not to be taken literally as a tour guide of either Heaven or Hell, but merely as an artistic expression of his ideas. And the plot device works well--Lewis's intensely brilliant yet readily accessible and familiar writing style makes it easy to imagine oneself in the narrator's shoes on the uneasy bus ride out of Hell, hunkering under the great mountains of Glory, or even talking uncertainly with Ghosts or Spirits (oh yes, there is a big difference!).
The Great Divorce is a fine read for anyone, believer or unbeliever. The former will find many challenges and assurances; the latter will discover new insights into the Christian faith not readily available from other sources. Above all, The Great Divorce is a Dante-esque tour of not only the Worlds Beyond, but just as importantly one of the often unexplored metaphysical World within us all.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Read
Published 5 days ago by AHL
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
magnificent book.
Published 9 days ago by Benjamin Palumbo
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative imagination...
No doubt this is some excellent creative writing but little more. C. S. Lewis was and is highly praised for his Christian apologetics but in the end he changed his view of God... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Lewis Tagliaferre
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book! Can't believe I have not read it ...
A great book! Can't believe I have not read it before. Next in tap is Lewis' "Screwtape Letters".
Published 9 days ago by Jim
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant writer!
Published 11 days ago by Jon Patterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great stuff!
Published 14 days ago by Barbara Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book. Every Christian should read this book.
Very interesting book. At first it was hard to understand but as you get deeper into the story it becomes clear that the people on the bus are from hell. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Lynne Cline
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read!
Published 14 days ago by Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars twist and turns
This book always makes me think more deeply at my faith in Christ and my motivations! It gives me much to ponder about the working out of that faith in everyday life.
Published 14 days ago by Lynda M. Schmidt
1.0 out of 5 stars The Reader
The reading done by Simon Vance is by far a better listen.
Published 15 days ago by Active Reader
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More About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

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