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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Till We Have Faces

Till We Have Faces
by C.S. Lewis
324 pages

*** About the Book ***

In Greek mythology there is a story about Psyche, a beautiful mortal woman, who becomes the lover of the god Cupid. He gives her a gorgeous palace to live in and everything she could ever need. The only catch is that she is never allowed to see his face. Her two sisters visit her in the palace and become extremely jealous of her many blessings. In their jealousy they convince her to break her lover's one rule. This results in her being thrown out of the palace and suffering through many years of nearly impossible tasks before eventually being reunited with Cupid and becoming immortal.

But what if one of her sisters was to tell the story? Would it be the same story or would it be a completely different tale? In this book we meet Orual, the older and quite ugly sister of beautiful Psyche. It is she who raised Psyche from infancy and she who tells the tale ... and things are definitely different from her point of view.

*** Why I Choose It ***

This is not a book I would have picked up since 1) I don't really like CS Lewis and 2) I'm not familiar with this particular myth. However my book club pal Melissa says is it fantastic and it is our club's pick for September.

*** My Thoughts ***

When she recommended this book, Melissa warned me that it was the story she loved and not the writing (she isn't a CS Lewis fan either). And I'm glad she did, because the writing is definitely not my cup of tea. This won't be a problem for those of you who like Lewis because it is similar in style to his other books, but it was a real drag for me.

Getting past the writing itself, lets discuss the story. I was entranced for the first half of the book - I was so drawn into Orual's world that I didn't want to put the book down. This kind-hearted but very ugly woman is bringing a complaint against the gods for their treatment of Psyche and of herself. I loved her brazenness!

And then the story bogged down in the final third of the book. There were parts that were interesting but I got hung up on the wordiness and the awkward writing until I couldn't bring myself to care much what happened next.

The authors note at the end explained the "true" story of Psyche and Cupid and also where Lewis got the idea for this story. I very much enjoyed reading that, more so than the final third of the book.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. And it had some promise. But in the end I can't say I'm a big fan.

My club meets to discuss this on 9/16 - I'll be sure to let you know what the rest of the gals thought of it.

*** Other Reviews ***

I only found one other review - did I miss yours?


StephanieD said...

Sounds like Lewis was the Gregory Maguire of his time.

Jen - Devourer of Books said...

Hmm, I do like Lewis, so I think I'll have to try this soon. I have it around here somewhere..

bermudaonion said...

Thanks for the review, but I think I'll skip it.

Heather J. said...

StephanieD - I'd have to agree, especially since I don't like Maguire either! ~LOL~

Jen - Since you like Lewis you might like this. I'm hoping other people will read it so I can see if it is just me who doesn't like it.

bermuda - No worries, I don't think you're missing much here.

Alyce said...

The only CS Lewis books that I've really enjoyed have been the Narnia books.

Heather J. said...

Alyce - I couldn't get through the first of the Narnia books. :( But you might like this one if you liked those.

Booklogged said...

I've owned this book for years but have never read it. I'm not encouraged by your review. Hope the discussion is good at your book club.

Justin Narin said...

I like to read books on mythology... thanks for your views :)

Freedom Debt

Heather J. said...

booklogged - You never know, you might really like it - my friend Melissa (who I usually agree with on books) loves it!

Justin - Let me know if you ever try this one.

Rebecca Reid said...

I liked this book, but I don't recall much about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked the mythological storyline. Reading it a 2nd time was quite a disappointment because there was no suspense, so I was just stuck with the stiff writing! I've read 6 other books since I picked it back up!!!


Sherry said...

Heather, I must say that I'm in the "love it" camp. I think Lewis is profound in his understanding of God and man. Perhaps the Peter Kreeft lecture that I linked to in my post would help you to appreciate the book more.

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