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

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“…I will write in this book what no one who has happiness would dare to write. I will accuse the gods, especially the god who lives on the Grey Mountain…”

‘Till We Have Faces’ is C. S. Lewis’ last work of fiction.  Set in the imaginary land of Glome in the time of Hellenistic Greece, the story is told from the point of view of Orual, the eldest of the three princesses of that land.

Orual, the eldest, grows to love her youngest sister Psyche even though she is ugly as Psyche is beautiful.  However, this love is a harmful and possessive love that comes near to hate when Psyche becomes the bride of Cupid, the god of love himself.  Orual, embittered, writes “against the gods… as if I [she] were making my complaint… before a judge”, but in the writing she is forced to call up memories long asleep, and relive the events that transpired in her youth, and the scene is set for her transformation.

Love is the central theme of this story. Though it revolves largely around Orual’s relationship with Psyche, also highlighted are her loves for others such as her Greek tutor, known as ‘The Fox’, and Bardia, the commander of her army. Her loves, and the very nature of each relationship, are explored. It is a study of that line when love blurs into hatred and how with our love we may end up destroying the targets of our affection.

Lewis’ engaging prose, along with the intriguing plot, combine to form a story that is beautiful and enthralling.  It is definitely a must-read for everyone and anyone.

-Tang Sze Kay(2D)

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