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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retoldby C.S. Lewis
Synopses & Reviews
“I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer... Why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”
Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche's sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god's face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.
"Till We Have Faces succeeds in presenting with imaginative directness what its author has described elsewhere as ‘the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live....[It] deepens for adults that sense of wonder and strange truth which delights children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and other legends of Narnia." New York Times
"Exerts, far beyond most novels, that combination of...wonder and attraction." The New York Times
"The most significant and truimphant work that Lewis has...produced." New York Herald Tribune
"In Mr. Lewis's sensitive hands the ancient myth retains its fascination while being endowed with new meanings, new depths, new terrors." Saturday Review
In this timeless tale of two mortal princesses — one beautiful and one unattractive — C. S. Lewis reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction. This is the story of Orual, Psyche's embittered and ugly older sister, who possessively and harmfully loves Psyche. Much to Orual's frustrations, Psyche is loved by Cupid, the god of love himself, setting the troubled Orual on a path of moral development.
Set against the backdrop of Glome, a barbaric, pre-Christian world, the struggles between sacred and profane love are illuminated as Orual learns that we cannot understand the intent of the gods "till we have faces" and sincerity in our souls and selves.
This tale of two princesses — one beautiful and one unattractive — and of the struggle between sacred and profane love is Lewis's reworking of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and one of his most enduring works.
About the Author
C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) gained international renown for an impressive array of beloved works both popular and scholarly: literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and numerous books on theology. Among hismost celebrated achievements are Out of the Silent Planet, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Screwtape Letters, The Four Loves, and Surprised by Joy.
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