Book Review: Till We Have Faces; by C.S. Lewis

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I started reading this book on Monday, having picked it up only because it had Jack's name on it.

I figure anything he writes has got to be good, right?

As you can see on the book cover, it says, "A Myth Retold." He retells a Greek story of three mortal princesses, the youngest of whom was the most beautiful. So beautiful that no mortal man would court her, she was so far above them. Long story short, Cupid falls in love with her, she betrays him, and is set to performing impossible tasks for Venus. After one particularly difficult task, Cupid comes, forgives her, and she is made a goddess. Happily ever after.

That, of course, is the Greek version, and a very watered down one, to be sure.


In this book, the story is told from the perspective of Psyche's oldest sister, who was the ugliest of the three. She loved Psyche, and many others, but learns through the Gods, at the end of her life, that she has been, not loving, but leaning on all these people. She sees that they, because of their love for her, have let her leech (a strong word, but it's the best I can think of) away their life in service to her.

It's an interesting perspective shift. She goes from viewing everything through her virtual veil of love, to seeing the selfishness she's had all, or most, of her life. It makes me wonder if I am seeing things in their proper light? am I treating the people I love with selflessness, or am I using their love to require them to do the things I want them to do?

Now that I ask it, I can see that I do it. I could give a couple of very recent examples...

I think we all probably do, at some point, use those we love for our own ends. Whether it's going on the date I want to go on, or doing something the way I want to do it, or watching what I want to watch... the list could go on.

In the end, right before her death, this woman sees her mistake. She has questioned the Gods all her life for answers to why her lot has been so hard, why all those she loved have been taken from her, why she was born ugly, why, why, why.... Her final words (before she dies in the midst of her writing) are:

"I [said before that the Gods gave] no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?"

This is beautiful to me. To see a person having hated the Gods all their life, to finally see the light and know that, not only do they exist, but they were right all along.

I can't possibly give you a more thorough overview of this book without writing a blog post longer than a mile, and I really don't have time for that... (I'm writing this Thursday, and I have two extra little ones running around my house). If you have the time, I suggest you read it. It's written very well, and gives you a lot to think about. Let me know if you do, we can discuss :-)

Thanks for traveling today!

Questions and Answers,

Page Traveler


P.S.
Do you find yourself "using" your loved ones occasionally? Do you sometimes ask for answers in prayer? If you don't receive them right away, are you bitter of it, or understanding? Does it depend on the question?

Lots of thoughts today... share yours! 
And while you're at it why don't you share this post with your friends, you cool kid you. Thanks!

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