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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold Paperback – July 9, 1980
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am required to read this book for a class. It's not my style of reading but I found it quite interesting. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Garry W. McClendon
Love works by this author, how someone can write so many books and keep it all straightPublished 13 days ago by Bradley Russell
Well-written, but perhaps not as engaging or satisfying as some of Lewis' other fiction worksPublished 15 days ago by Lane
This book. Mysterious and haunting, it brims with magic. One of my favorite novels. It's my favorite fictional work by Lewis, which, coming from someone who basically grew up in... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Elizabella Butters
I loved this book- couldn't put it down! Story has it that Lewis was compelled to write the book because he found the story of Psyche and Cupid to be illogical and that he thought... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Megan
This is a retelling of the myth of cupid and psyche from the viewpoint of psyche's older sister, who becomes a queen. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charlene L. Rider