12 August 2010
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold-C.S. Lewis
Poignant and thought provoking, Lewis, in his altered retelling of the classical myth involving Cupid, Psyche, and Orual, unearths the sweet and terrible mysteries between mortal and divine, which each man ardently reaches for yet at the same time, contemptuously shuns.
Three sisters born to the King of Glome, a barbaric kingdom preceding the advent of Christianity, Orual, Redival, and Psyche are ensnared by the reality and superstitions of the day, and from which the myth is born. Orual, the oldest sister, ugly and spurned by their father sets all her love and attention upon her youngest sister, Psyche, whose beauty is revered by all. Superstitions and pagan worship practices of the day demand a human sacrifice when drought and famine descend upon the community, with the lot falling to pure and lovely Psyche, who is left for the Shadowbrute to be both loved and devoured. Having a doubter's heart, Orual is devastated by the loss of the only love in her life and determines to discover the truth of what has become of her beloved Psyche. When she discovers her sister alive and happy, she is overjoyed, but this joy quickly turns to fear and anger as Psyche speaks of her life in a palace as the secret wife of a god - a god whose face she may not look upon. Fearing madness or some more horrible plot has deceived her dear sister, Orual defiantly sets off a chain of events that lead to a terrifying encounter with the divine, and to a lifetime of suffering and anguish of the soul.
Orual's accusation against and demand for justice is met by silence on the part of the gods, which strengthens her belief in her innocence before them. What Orual must discover is that the gods do not speak openly to us, nor let us answer until we cease our ramblings, enact true self-reflection and examination, speak from our true hearts, and finally have faces.
Recommendation: ****_ (4 out of 5 stars)
Definitely worth reading. Lewis gives us glimpses of ourselves in more than one character in his masterful way.