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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Brace & Company; Later Printing edition (July 9, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156904365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156904360
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At once more human and more mythic than his Perelandra trilogy, Lewis's short novel of love, faith, and transformation (both good and ill) offers the reader much food for thought in a compact, impressively rich story. Less heavy-handedly Christian-allegorical than Narnia, Till We Have Faces gives us characters who remind us of people we know facing choices and difficulties we recognize. This deceptively simple book takes on new depth with each rereading. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

''He always tells a good story, and this is a splendid, vehement one, full of stone and wind and spears in an old country, wet mist on the hills. ... seems to sum up most of what Dr. Lewis has been telling us for years.'' --The Tablet

''One of the most eminently readable pieces of fiction that has come my way for a long time.'' --Yorkshire Post --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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.

Customer Reviews

This book really grabbed my attention and made me feel what the main character was feeling.
T. Sherwood
I've always liked C.S. Lewis's allegories and writings on faith, but I never thought that he would produce such a beautiful and subtle work of fiction.
"lotusgirl"
Just one caveat: you really will need to read it twice ... and you will understand why once you have read it through the first time.
Snickerdoodle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

420 of 430 people found the following review helpful By Snickerdoodle on November 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis used fiction to lay bare the soul in ways his more apologetic work could not. The cast of characters in The Great Divorce, for example, or in the "Space Trilogy" invariably remind us of people we know - and give us insights into what makes them tick. Nowhere in Lewis' works is the soul explored better than in Till We Have Faces, Lewis' masterwork of fiction and a stunning psychological and spiritual odyssey.
TWHF retells and enriches the myth of Cupid and Psyche, although a lack of familiarity with the myth in no way diminishes from the enjoyment of the book. In Lewis' hands, the story sorts through issues of family, jealousy, gender, faith, and ultimate meaning, culminating with a frightening and yet wonderful 'face to face' scene that gives rise to, and explains, the book's title.
Readers who are looking for the kind of in-your-face Christian symbolism that characterized the Chronicles of Narnia will be disappointed with TWHF. Although I appreciate and am nourished by Lewis' Christian parables and apologetics, the theology in TWHF is pagan, at least on its surface. Underneath the surface, however, Lewis does a masterful job of intertwining the traditional beliefs of the main characters - including a stand-in for Greek rationalism - with rumors of a much more intimate and beautiful way of knowing the gods. The climactic scene itself plays off the biblical phrase, "Now we see in a glass dimly, but then face to face" - a phrase that comes, in fact, from I Corinthians 13, the famous chapter on Love in the New Testament. So Lewis does indeed lead the reader toward the One who is love, but he uses the carrot of intrigue and spiritual longing rather than the steamroller (if you will pardon the mixed metaphor) of too-obvious symbolism.
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233 of 240 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on May 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Besides containing one of the greatest lines about being an author ever written: "I was with book, as a woman is with child", C.S. Lewis's "Till We Have Faces" also did me the service of giving me a good slap across my metaphorical face. How wrapped up we all become in our own little lives. How one-sided and self-favoring is our vision.
Though a book about many things--holiness, love, and philosophy to name a few--"Till We Have Faces" is mainly about how our perceptions can fail us. How in the name of doing what we think is right, we can do horrible things.
Orual, the protagonist of the story, spends an entire life learning what the apostle Paul meant when he said "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." The real twist in "Till We Have Faces" is that the reader, more likely than not, learns the same lesson (I know I did).
C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors for many reasons. This book is definitely one of them. Lewis considered "Till We Have Faces" to be his best book. I do not know if I agree, but it is certainly a great story.
I give "Till We Have Faces" a very high recommendation.
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154 of 163 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
C.S. Lewis's novel Till We Have Faces is based on the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche, however Lewis chooses to tel the story through Orual, Psyche's older sister. While Lewis does retell the well-known story of Psyche and Cupid, that is only a tiny piece of the story he creates. Till We Have Faces is actually the story of Orual's struggle to find love, and to discover her own identity. The actual setting of the story is unclear-it takes place in a country north of Greece, in a time long past, but Lewis does not choose to elaborate on that. In fact throughout the entire book, he focuses very little on sensory details; it is a story of emotion and psychology rather than action and physical description. Orual writes her own story, beginning at her childhood in her father's castle. There she leads an isolated life, surrounded only by her fathers servants, advisors, and her sisters, Redival and Psyche. Redival, with her golden curls and curvy figure, is superficially pretty, but Psyche is the embodiment of perfect and natural beauty. She is not only outwardly beautiful, she is also pure, unselfish, and loving. Orual, though, is neither pretty nor beautiful. She is, as she is constantly reminded by her father (the king), indescribably ugly. Orual never feels that she is loved by anyone, that is, until Psyche enters her life. Psyche's mother dies giving birth to her, and Orual takes it upon herself to become Psyche's guardian and to raise her. Orual loves Psyche more than anything else, but her love is selfishly and fiercely possessive. Orual is tormented by the thought of having to release Psyche from her suffocating grasp, and she does everything in her power to prevent it.Read more ›
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
Many authors have taken old stories and retold them from another character's point-of-view in order to change the theme and lesson portrayed in it. C.S. Lewis did just that in his Till We Have Faces, a retelling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche from the perspective of one of Psyche's treacherous sisters. In doing so, Lewis adds depth to a superficial story and makes his readers question the motive of their love.
Orual, the eldest sister of Psyche, doesn't love anyone more than she loves her youngest sister. In turning the story in this direction, Lewis shifts the conflict from one between the sisters to one at first between Orual and the supposed gods who were the cause of Psyche's sacrifice and then, after Orual realizes her fault in her loss of Psyche, a conflict between Orual and herself. Orual's haunting self-examination and the revelation that she has loved Psyche so much that she pulled her away from happiness, and that she also has done so with everyone she has ever loved is a stirring wake-up call to all of us. The lesson that love is not a selfish action, but one in which, if you act with pure intent, your most important wish is for the one you love to be happy, is one which we all need to learn, as it will bring about greater happiness both in our lives and the lives of those we love.
The title of the novel is the source of another important lesson. Throughout her life, Orual lives with the fact that her looks are anything but attractive. To make things worse, her sister Redival, whom she absolutely detests, is considered somewhat of a beauty. Her father tells her she looks like a man, and that her looks could knock down a horse, and the like, and she becomes embarrassed to show her face to anyone.
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