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The Great Divorce Paperback – April 21, 2015
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“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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Top Customer Reviews
I found this book captivating, it is a short read but packs some major depth and detail in it. I would definitely recommend this to any follower of Jesus looking to understand more about their flesh, other's flesh, and ultimately our full identity and role as followers of Jesus. One may find many things in common with the "ghosts" in the story, but hopefully you find more in common with the "spirits" in exalting the Lord Jesus above everything, including yourself.
On one hand, I do not think I am Lewis' target audience. He seems to be clearly writing for other Christians. He turns a mirror on his fellow Believer's in a way that might make some uncomfortable, he strikes me as a personification of Matthew 7:5*. I wish I had studied more Lewis when I was still in the Church instead of spending my time reading "pop Christianity" books like "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" or going to big Acquire the Fire events. I needed more intellectual substance and less "feel-good" fluff. Anyway, I'm way off topic...
On the other hand, the struggles humans deal with (spiritual and otherwise) are fairly universal and there is something to gain from reading the works of such a great thinker. Lewis is unafraid to critically examine topics that are taboo to many people. In "The Great Divorce" he even tackles the love a mother feels for her child and points out that it can be perverted in a way that creates great evil and harm. In fact, the more noble the attribute (love, patriotism, honor, selflessness, etc), the greater the evil that can be born of it. The perversion of love is more harmful than the perversion of "base" desires like lust or gluttony.
This is a lesson that even an atheist like me can learn from. My pursuit of love, art, and new experiences are noble, but they can be perverted. There is almost a Stoic or Buddhist quality to Lewis' works that I really appreciate and get a lot out of. Overall, this is a super quick read that has something of value for everyone. It is worth picking up and knocking out over a long weekend, but have a pen handy because there are lots of things to underline or write about.
*Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye"
But they forget that God has given all of us free will. God has given us choices all of our lives. What if the choice to be separated from heaven doesn't come from God, but rather comes from within ourselves. What if we are the ones who can't tolerate heaven.
In this intriguing book, we are challenged with that very concept. Is C.S. Lewis right or wrong? I'm not sure it matters. What matters is that this opens up the conversation in a very different way.