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The Great Divorce Unabridged Cd [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

C S Lewis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 13 2003

In The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer, in a dream, boards a bus on a drizzly afternoon and embarks on an incredible voyage through Heaven and Hell. He meets a host of supernatural beings far removed from his expectations and comes to significant realizations about the ultimate consequences of everyday behavior. This is the starting point for a profound meditation upon good and evil. "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell."


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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

C. S. Lewis takes us on a profound journey through both heaven and hell in this engaging allegorical tale. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis introduces us to supernatural beings who will change the way we think about good and evil. In The Great Divorce C. S. Lewis again employs his formidable talent for fable and allegory. The writer, in a dream, finds himself in a bus which travels between Hell and Heaven. This is the starting point for an extraordinary meditation upon good and evil which takes issue with William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. In Lewis's own words, "If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven then we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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I seemed to be standing in a busy queue by the side of a long, mean street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Lewis' "The Great Divorce" is a book that I have owned for years but only recently read. I don't know why it took me so long, but now that I have read it I want to read it again all the more. I guess that is a sign of a good book. Many of you reading this review are no doubt familiar with Lewis the philosopher, theologian, writer, and speaker. Suffice to say he remains one of the most esteemed and brilliant thinkers and writers of the last century.
This book easily compares to the best of his work. The idea of using a fantasy-land constructed around a bus trip to try to give us some look into the unknown is pure Lewis. A dark, desolate, rainy bus stop gives us a mental picture of hell that reminds me of the films "Blade Runner" and "Dark City". The descriptions of a heaven-like place given in the book remind me of the house of Elrond and the elvish city in the recent "Lord of the Rings". The book essentially follows the author as he tours both of these worlds-seemingly seperated by a million miles. With George MacDonald as his guide, the author witnesses many interactions between those in the 'heavenly' world and those arriving from hell on a bus. The heavenly beings-who are solid-attempt to convince the spirits aboard the tour to remain with them and allow themselves to be made whole by the overseer of the heavenly realm.
Unfortunately, most of the spirits prefer to deal with their various troubles 'some other time' or not at all. Wishing to remain as they are, they refuse the help of the heavenly beings. We witness spirits literally and figuratively in chains of pity, anger, pride, arrogance, and fear. The answer to all of these maladies is offered to them with outstretched arms, they need only accept the gift.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Actually deserves 4.5 stars July 18 2001
By Linds
Format:Paperback
I have not read anything by Lewis for many years, and what I do remember of Lewis' work is very different from what I read in The Gread Divorce. While I am not a Christian and therefore not exactly sure how I feel about heaven and hell, this book was inspiring. The story is unlike any other I have read before, and I think accurately represents people's attitudes about heaven and hell. According to Lewis, "All that are in hell, choose it." Kind of a radical idea! (For anyone who is interested, the title of the novel is in reference to Blake's The Marraige of Heaven and Hell.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter Joy, June 8, 2000 Aug. 31 2012
By Mike London TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
[NOTE: I am reissuing my Amazon.com reviews on Amazon.co.uk. This review was originally published on Amazon.com June 8, 2000]

"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 `Thy will be done'."

This is a quote from this little volume, and effectively sums up the entire book in that one sentence. THE GREAT DIVORCE, like Lewis's TILL WE HAVE FACES, is his song of songs, his great achievement. Tolkien's was LORD OF THE RINGS, Adams' WATERSHIP DOWN, Sinclair Lewis' MAIN STREET. These novels are generally regarded as their major works. This little book, published in a little periodical called The Guardian, is one such book. (It was this periodical that Lewis's classic book THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS also appeared). Sadly, SCREWTAPE, though excellent in and of itself, is often given much more credit than this, which is a deeper work (and to those who know THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, know what a feat that is).

Perhaps one reason that this work is such an excellent little volume is its length of gestation: it was concieved in 1931 and written in 1944. Insipred by a sermon found in Jeremy Taylor's WORKS, suggested such a premise as to think, or take, the absuridity of damned souls getting a real refreshment from hell. Also another source was the fourth centru Latin poet named Prudentius Aurelius Clemens (his contribution can be found in "Hymn for the Lighting of the Lamp). Assuredly, one of the reasons that it took so long to be written (the first known written account is a diary entry by his brother Warnen on Paril 15, 1932) is he had not had it visualized. In terms of inspiration his fiction arose from "seeing pictures" in his mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very difficult to understand Aug. 19 2013
By Carley
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book as part of a book club for the summer. I was not familiar with C.S. Lewis's work. I found this book overwhelmingly difficult to understand. On the surface it's an interesting take on Heaven & Hell, but underneath trying to understand the symbolism and the true message I found to be impossible without the input of my book club friends.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Exploration of a Heavy Topic March 4 2014
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
C. S. Lewis is one of the best-known Christian writers and apologists. His works have made a huge impact on generations of readers, and have brought Christian thought and doctrines to many who otherwise would not have shown any interest in them. In “The Great Divorce” he tackles one of the darkest topics in all of Christian doctrine: the topic of Hell.

C. S. Lewis’ views and writings were always to a large extent designed to shake up the comfortable complacency of the society around him. This particularly holds for the Christians who were all too happy to give up the hard and sometimes uncomfortable tenants of their faith and embrace the ever more libertine ethos of the modern culture. Two of the most salient points that Lewis is trying to get across in “Great Divorce” are 1. Hell is real, and 2. Hell is not just reserved for the most egregiously evil people. Chances are, if you are a Christian today you’ll get more criticism and ridicule for the belief in these two points than almost any other tenants of Christianity.

This book more resembles “The Screwtape Letters” than any of the other of Lewis’ apologetic works. “The Great Divorce” showcases Lewis’ narrative skills and imagination, in addition to his deep theological insights. Presenting a clear and convincing vision of the afterlife can be exceedingly challenging. Most literary and artistic attempts fall short, as the picture they paint more often than not end up being cheesy and sentimentalist. This could be one of the reasons why today it’s much more likely to see the afterlife depicted in humorous cartoons or with a heavy dose of irony – those tropes help shield the author from potential ridiculing.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quite fascinating dream about haven and hell CSL had
Published 11 days ago by William A. Bolduc
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating study on the human condition
C.S. Lewis is an excellent storyteller (as I already knew from the Chronicles of Narnia); this book does not disappoint! Read more
Published 12 months ago by KJ
4.0 out of 5 stars This CS Lewis at his most readable (outside of Narnia)
I really like CS Lewis. I especially liked the Great Divorce as it combines a nice story line with a lot to think about. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Michel N. Jutras
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I have read much of C.S. Lewis writings and I would say that this is one of my favorite books. Although I read a lot I prefer the shorter books and for this reason this is one of... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Robert Alexander portillo
5.0 out of 5 stars Received What I Expected
C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" is a wonderful 'make-believe' story; one that I have cherished ever since I read it over a quarter century ago. Read more
Published 23 months ago by brasilshortstop
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly done CD
The quality of this CD is excellent. The orator puts a great deal of expression into the characters and does a passable job with the various accents and idioms. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2009 by The Flying Kiwi
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hardness of Heaven
Unlike some of Lewis' other books ("The Pilgrim's Regress", or "The Chronicles of Narnia"), "The Great Divorce" is not allegory but rather a well crafted and metaphorical dream of... Read more
Published on July 8 2009 by D Glover
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like C.S. Lewis . . .
. . . like I do, I strongly suggest We All Fall Down, by Brian Caldwell. Like Lewis, Caldwell takes an intellectual aproach to the concept of Christianity. Read more
Published on July 9 2004 by Mike
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books by Lewis
The Great Divorce is one of a kind, indeed. Like that of his Screwtape Letters, it is a fantasy book, but based on a real belief in the Truth - Christianity and everything therein. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by William Heckner Jr
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonbelievers will enjoy this read - my favorite book
I don't happen to be a believer in a higher power, Christian or otherwise, but I thoroughly enjoyed this bus ride from the very first page. C.S. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by dweezil
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