6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caveat
Although they are, by now, superfluous, I add my five stars to the constellation that's already gathered around 'Till We Have Faces' in part to underline the comments already made by many reviewers and in part to hide from you what those comments betray. For 'Till We Have Faces' is a tale whose telling is as much a reason to read the book as the tale itself. It is a story...
Published on June 12 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars I didn't think it was that great.
Maybe it was because I didn't know the story of Cupid and Psyche before I read the book- but I was not overly moved by this book. I especially did not enjoy Part II, when I just kept wondering, what the heck is going on??? Thank goodness that Lewis included the summary of the traditional myth at the end- it might be helpful to read this part first.
Published on Nov. 19 2001
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caveat,
By A Customer
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)Although they are, by now, superfluous, I add my five stars to the constellation that's already gathered around 'Till We Have Faces' in part to underline the comments already made by many reviewers and in part to hide from you what those comments betray. For 'Till We Have Faces' is a tale whose telling is as much a reason to read the book as the tale itself. It is a story whose characters, places, and very language will haunt you in the most wonderful ways--its sounds and smells will seep into your subconscious and change the way you see and feel. It is story-telling at its most vivid and lucid and profound.
Above all, I wish to emphasize that this is a book about mysteries, religious, psychological and philosophical. Consequently, the very way in which the story unfolds leads the reader (and the main character!) into a darkness suddenly illuminated by a dazzling revelation. And so this is why I began my review by saying that one of my goals was to hide from you what other reviewers give away. If you want to experience the mysteries and revelations of 'Till We Have Faces' with all the intensity felt by Lewis' heroine Orual, please stop reading the reviews here. Read on, though, for marvelous plot summaries and reflections on the book. But no matter what you choose, please READ THIS BOOK for a story that is as achingly beautiful as it is richly insightful.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of Lewis's best fiction,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)CS Lewis, the master Christian apologist, was also a fabulous storyteller, as well as a sort of Classical scholar. This book is a synthesis of his theology, his love for the classics, and his storytelling ability. It is a reworking of the Psyche/Cupid myth, spun by Lewis in such a way as to teach important moral values--values which Lewis propagated in his Christian writings, but which he proves (in this book) to be important to all cultures. One of the most compelling things about this novel is that it is set in a 'barbarian' society, with many gods comparable to those of the Greeks. Even in the midst of this foreign religion, however, Lewis manages to teach his Christian moral values with surprising success.
In a nutshell, this is a story about too much love. Orual, Psyche's sister, loves Psyche more than anything. Her love, however, is a selfish love, and Orual ends up destroying her sister because of that love. The central message of this book (to me, at least) is that people often treat their love protectively, and that jealousy often prompts people to hurt the one they love in an effort to keep the beloved all to themselves. The result, in this story and in others, is that someone (like Orual) who claims to love another person (like Psyche) ends up being the person in the world who hurts them the most. This culminates, in the novel, with Orual using Psyche's love for her as blackmail to get Psyche to destroy her life with the god Cupid.
Readers familiar with Lewis's 'The Screwtape Letters' and 'The Great Divorce' will recognize this familiar theme of love gone too far. As always, Lewis provides insights in this book that are both profitable and that hit close to home for many of us. This is a great work of fiction by CS Lewis, both for its theological content and for the narrative itself. I couldn't put it down until I'd finished it, and both enjoyed and profited from the reading.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lewis' true heroine and pathos make this book a great read,
By A Customer
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (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. She puts on a veil, and decides never to take it off. When she does so, people stop noticing her ugly looks and begin to focus on who she is. As queen she becomes famous for her generosity, courage, and wisdom. She is remembered as the bravest, most valiant queen who ever lived. Her fame spreads, and so do tales that she wears the veil to cover a beautiful face, because certainly no one whose acts are so lovely can be ugly. Thus, through her actions, Orual receives a new face, a beautiful one, one which fits her personality and love for others. In doing so she conquers the goddess, who has no face, and achieves her victory over the gods.
Lewis' portrayal of love as the only thing to brighten an otherwise bleak and desolate world is fitting in this day. At a time when selfishness and greed are prevalent, the world needs a lesson in the value of devotion to others. Till We Have Faces is just that lesson. It provides a great example of love to all who are willing to learn from it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Weird to Wonderful,
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This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)This is a weird and wonderful book. I read it once and thought it was interesting, but kind of weird and I didn't really "get it". Then I looked up on-line what the author, C.S. Lewis, had said about it and found the themes etc. and the light went on. I went back and read it again, and this time thought it was absolutely brilliant. I loved it! It's become one of my all time favourite books!
5.0 out of 5 stars Redeeming Humun Sorrow: C.S. Lewis' "Till We Have Faces",
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)Most fortunate was the day I stumbled across this book while rummaging through my mother's library. Of all the books I have read thus far, I believe "Till We Have Faces" the most poignant and the most profound. C.S. Lewis uses the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche as a basis for his tale of two sisters, one guiltless and beautiful, the other good but ugly of face. He employs their lives as an allegory of the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ to answer the timeless question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people.
Superficially, "Till We Have Faces" is a grave and at times grim fairytale of the sister princesses Orual and Istra in the dark primeval kingdom of Glome. The book is constructed as the complaint of the homely Orual (who comes to represent a virtuous, but flawed mankind) against the gods for the sorrows of her life.
Through the embittered Orual coming to see her own selfishness of heart and how futile it is to try to fathom the designs of the divine with mere mortal reasoning, Lewis does not belittle human sorrow or suffering in comparison to the greatness of God, but rather attempts to represent salvation as a power to heal the deepest wounds and the greatest sorrows.
4.0 out of 5 stars a good slap across the face,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)I love this book even though the ending confused the heck out of me. C.s. Lewis did a great job of retelling this myth i had not heard of this myth befor until i got to the end of the book where the author tells you about the real tale and how he changed it he did a great deal the tale and he changed it for the good wich made the whole character change and gave her a different out look throughout the whole story in the real myth the main feelings of the character was jealousy twards her sister psyche and in the myth retold the feelings of jealousy arent twards her sister Psyche she feels anger twards her sister at times and she feels that her sister does not lover her anymore because she wont come home to her. This tale has many twists turns ups and downs like a roller coaster and if you miss something you might not get certain parts of the book. I still think I need to read it again. I hope this might of helped and I hope that you enjoy the book.
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, brutal, challenging,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)C.S. Lewis is so good at mixing faith with stories. Maybe that's why his stories are the most gripping. This retelling of Psyche and Eros is unpredictable and very moving. If Narnia is for children then "Faces" is a teaching fable for all adults.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Rule,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)Orual,the least beautiful of the princesses in the kingdom seems as if she uses the Golden Rule throughout the book. The Golden Rule states to treat people the way you want them to treat you. Orual treats everyone with love because she wants to be loved in return.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absorbing & Thoughtful Story,
This review is from: Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (Paperback)C.S. Lewis himself regarded Til We Have Faces at times to be his best book (Durez, 1990). The myth is exploding with symbolism and metaphors, wherein Lewis explores his own ponderings on love, religion, salvation, suffering, and reason. I have read the book twice and found tremendous substance in the overarching theme: A gulf transfixed between good and evil in Creation, a concept reviewed many times over on the popular Lewis site, Intro. to the Wardrobe (check it out!).
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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis (Paperback - 1980)
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