Read Book ♭ Till We Have Faces ⚔ Bunatime.co

Although I count C S Lewis as a favorite author, and had nominally had this re telling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche based on the version recounted by the 2nd century A.D Latin author Apuleius in his Metamorphoses, or The Golden Ass Lewis summarizes that version here in an author s note at the end on my to read list for some time, I d probably never have read it if it hadn t been a common read in my Fans of British Writers group here on Goodreads Greek mythology isn t a big interest of mine I wasn t familiar with the legend or with Apuleius work, and expected something sort of like a bowdlerized kid s version of the Odyssey that I read as a child I d have missed out on a great read that was nothing like that expectation.Lewis re invents the story through the eyes of Psyche s older sister Orual, who s our protagonist and narrator, a shift of perspective that s crucial to the story as he tells it He also changes a central detail, in the interests of greater psychological realism, and this changes the whole coloration of the tale I ve classified it as fantasy, because some crucial scenes take place in dream or vision sequences in the realm of the divine, outside this world as we know it but the great bulk of this story reads like realistic historical fiction, written with great psychological and spiritual perception The sisters are princesses in the barbarian the ancient Greeks word for anybody who isn t Greek kingdom of Glome But while Glome and its neighboring lands are fictional, they fit into a well realized milieu of the areas around the Black or Caspian Seas in the 4th century B.C., and Orual refers in places to the Greeklands and their real world writings and events including the death of Socrates in 399 B.C., which helps to date the events Glome has a culture and religion that s generic Iron Age southwest Asian Eastern Mediterranean Ungit, Aphrodite, Diana, etc are all variations of the cult of the Great Mother , and the characterizations are life like and vivid.Against this realistic background, Lewis unfolds a mostly very realistic story of a dysfunctional royal family, a conflict between traditional paganism and the rising rationalism of some of the Greek philosophers represented in Glome by major character Lysias nicknamed Fox, the enslaved Greek intellectual who becomes the princesses tutor , and occasional eruptions into mundane life of a mostly unseen spiritual realm He explores several serious themes here the necessity for true self knowledge of our real feelings and motivations, symbolized by the high quality mirror in the royal palace there s a lot of significant symbolism used in this novel, to enrich the telling the difference between healthy love that wants the best for another and possessive desire to own and dominate its object for self gratification, masquerading to both parties as love, a concept Lewis would explore four years later in The Four Loves the conflict between Reason and intuition imagination and the fundamental conflict between faith and unbelief Lewis also does an excellent job of making Orual, Fox and other characters nuanced, with both faults and good points Till We have Faces is set in pre Christian times, and the religious thought of its characters is pre Christian But Lewis would say that God was always there, even before Christ was born, governing the universe and seeking a relationship with human beings, and the same central spiritual truths that are true now were true then too Humans then, especially apart from Jewish influence, without the special revelation we have today in the Bible and especially in the New Testament, didn t understand those truths as clearly as those who have the full light of Christian revelation but like some of the ancient and medieval early modern Christian thinkers, Lewis understood the pre Christian pagan religions as pre figurations of Divine truth, imperfect and partial articulations of spiritual realities that serve as shadowy reflections of and pointers towards the real thing as Plato might have said and Lewis was a Neo Platonist in philosophy earthly images of the heavenly Ideal An online article by Michael Ward the author of Planet Narnia The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S Lewis , here , helpfully expands on this idea That s a concept essential to fully understanding Lewis purpose and message here.I ve included this book on my action heroines shelf a surprise to me, because I didn t expect such as element here Indeed, it s not an action heroine read to the extent that, say, a Modesty Blaise novel would be We only have one real, directly described action scene, and a passing reference to another But the motif is there Orual trains in sword fighting with the captain of the palace guard long story , proves to be naturally talented for it, and subsequently puts her training to good use In that respect and others, I d say that, while one of my few overall criticisms of Lewis is that his thought isn t quite as feminist as I d like, this is probably one of his most feminist works.All in all, I d say this mature work might well be Lewis masterpiece, and I m really glad to have read it Thanks for nominating it for the group read, Oksana I have read this book over and over again Perhaps it is the book I have reread than any other I used to read it because I didn t get it and felt I should Now I love it Listening, this time, to Nadia May, I really did become Orual, so full of self deception, or perhaps I shouldsay that I recognized myself in her clearly Ouch This is the plumb line for 5 star books.Lewis is still my favorite author and probably my favorite person in general, my best friend How can it be that I ve never sat down and had tea with him It seems like I must have I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean How can they meet us face to face till we have faces I am thankful that when we see Him, Jesus, face to face we will be like Him. Read Book ☼ Till We Have Faces ♔ In This Timeless Tale Of Two Mortal Princesses One Beautiful And One Unattractive CS 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 Posessively And Harmfully Loves Psyche Much To Orual S Frustration, Psyche Is Loved By Cupid, The God Of Love Himself, Setting The Troubled Orual On A Path Of Moral DevelopmentSet 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 seems to be the right time of year to pick out a ton of books all focused on retelling old Greek myths Perennial favorite C S Lewis went out of his way to retell the story of Psyche and Cupid from the PoV of Orual, the ugly sister, and it s a very well told tale He admits he uses the original as a template and goes on to make a much psychological and grounded tale than the original, and he pulls it off delightfully, full of Orual s obsessive angst, her striving to be better, her complaints against the gods, and eventually the god s replies.More than the original, I think, this retelling captures the darker and intricate differences and pulls off an entirely different level of storytelling There s the surface story, the tale told by the Fox about the actual Greek legend, and the under story which is a purely psychological exploration of all the secrets that the original legend tells us.It s very Psyche logical Out of all of Lewis works, I think I like this the best. Psychologists have long known that every person has two great longings and inward needs The first is to be loved, and the second is to love But when pressures and heartaches come into our lives, many give up any hope of ever finding love.For me, the above statements summarize the message that C S Lewis wanted to impart in his most mature and his favorite among all of his works novel, Till We Have Faces. Ugly Orual loves her beautiful youngest sister Psyche that she acts as her mother and a protector Famine comes into their kingdom and the priest says that to appease the goddess Ungit Aphrodite , Psyche should be sacrificed to the goddess son Brute Cupid However, the son falls in love with Psyche Orual goes to the mountain to bury Psyche s bone but she finds that Psyche is alive and Psyche shows Orual her invisible to Orual s eyes house Orual believes that Psyche has married a serpent so she asks Psyche to see the face of the Brute while he is sleeping This despises the Brute so he sends Psyche to exile Missing her sister, Orual transforms into a warrior and becomes of a man than a woman and she eventually becomes the Queen of Glome, their kingdom This is a story of contrasts beauty and ugly, loyalty and deception, loving and hating This is a story of transformation, realization and redemption On the surface, this is a story of jealousy among two siblings However, when the ugly Orual is about to expire in the end, she realizes that the true reason behind her deception and that she indeed still loves her sister the beautiful Psyche Orual did not feel that she was loved by her father because of her ugliness but she was able to love Psyche from the time she was born Orual acted as Psyche s protector because she loved her sister until Psyche was sent to the mountain to appease Aphrodite s wrath Orual transformed to become a warrior and eventually a queen whose face was covered to hide her true feelings She gave up on love. Some say that, unlike the other popular works of C S Lewis, this book does not have any Christian theme but for me, the veil covering Orual s face signifies sin jealousy, pride and deception The Bible says that until we first recognize ourselves as sinners, we will not be able to accept Jesus as our personal savior The realization that Orual experienced in the end was not too late for her to know that she did what she did because of her love for Psyche Before she died, she got love back. My friend is right The better part of this book is at the last few pages The dream like sequence of Orual being with the dead is like standing before God at the day of one s death It is full of philosophical thoughts and beautiful Christian metaphors that have been the trademarks of C S Lewis s works I had earlier read 4 of his other books first three books of Narnia and A Grief Observed and for me this is the best I am not a big fan of fantasy books and for most of the middle parts, this book bored me However, when I came to the last part, my mind was just blown away and it left me teary eyed this morning One of the best books I have read this year It gave me a strong feeling that this might really be the best work of C S Lewis Tina thanks for recommending this book to me Your taste on books is really impeccable Atty Monique thanks for lending me this book You who have the most generous heart Stupendous World class Top drawer.Finished an audio version of it in August of 2016 I have read this a total of three times Once when I was young, and I didn t like it The second time was in 2003, and I thought it was great This time, and greater still. You are indeed teaching me about kinds of love I did not know It is like looking into a deep pit I am not sure whether I like your kind better than hatred Oh, Orual to take my love for you, because you know it goes down to my very roots an cannot be diminished by any other newer love, and then to make of it a tool, a weapon, a thing of policy and mastery, an instrument of torture I begin to think I never knew you Whatever comes after, something that was between us dies here Apuleius s Cupid and Psyche retold by Psyche ugly half sister, Orual Aphrodite appears as a shapeless foul smelling black stone The people of the Kingdom worship her as the powerful goddess Ungit Technically, the blood libations are what smells, not the rock Cupid is known locally as the Brute, son of Ungit I think you can read this blissfully unaware of the Christian context I only heard a sustained note from a pipe organ once From that angle, it s a terrific story about a warrior queen and her long ago kingdom Both of her loyal and trusted advisors are great I will probably remember best I expected to like it a lot than I did, but I ve read it twice now and don t feel especially enthusiastic On the bright side, I buddy read it with Newly Wardell, who loved it A must read for any Lewis fan He began the book as an unbeliever a case against God and finished it some 30 years later fully converted Almost autobiographical, you get a real sense of his own spiritual awakening It is claimed to be his personal favorite The name comes from the scripture Now we see through a glass, darkly but then face to face..shall I know even as also I am known Better than anything I ve read, it describes the process of developing faith and finding and becoming like God Amazing The actual Cupid Psyche myth is summarized in the back of the book Read it first for context. List of beauties The epigraph Love is too young to know what conscience is The first line of Shakespeare s Sonnet 151 Lewis makes the quotation speak of Orual s sub moral love, Psyche s super moral love, and the god s supra mortal love Dedication To Joy Davidman TWHF was published in 1956, when Lewis was married to Joy He says somewhere that she was so involved in his mental processes during the creation of this book as to be almost a co author The first sentence I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods It sets the tone for the entire first section of the novel it paints a vague historical and geographical context by the mere word gods it encapsulates the character s past and present, age and attitude, faith and heresy The psychological honesty about the human sense of injustice by the gods Who has not been tempted to say to God, It s not fair The fairy tale feeling The Stepmother, a nurse, a tutor, a dark god in a darker house, an agricultural society infused with emotional realism, peopled by complex, timeless, modern characters The Fox Wise, stoic, affectionate, stolid, tender, clever, witty, loveable, loving, a seeker of knowledge, a story teller, a muddled mixture of the practical and the fantastical The intuitive, experiential understanding of the truth that The Law Kills The smell of the horror of holiness hanging around the Priest of Ungit, human sacrifice, temple prostitution, ritual superstition, the essence of a pre Christian religion Psyche herself True beauty As a newborn, she made bright all the corner of the room in which she lay Always laughing, making all others laugh, merry, truthful, obedient, virtuous, spirited, compassionate, selfless In her was the Form of the Beautiful, what every woman ought to have been and meant to be The Fox calls her Helen one of Lewis s great symbols, and Joy Davidman s other name The subtlety of the horrors that shattered Orual s youthful happiness No obvious catastrophes then, finally, the worst blow paganism can give sacrifice the most pure, the most beautiful, to The Brute The unanswerable nature of pre Christian language, that apes our own diction so closely, yet with such twistings In holy language, loving and devouring are the same the Bride is the Brute s Supper in a mystery, Ungit and her son are one Parodies of the Trinity, of the Eucharist, of a believer s death and resurrection in baptism The psychological perfection of the scene in Psyche s prison room on the night before the sacrifice Orual accuses Psyche of a heart of iron because it is strong and unbendable in torment Orual has lost her, and grudges her this joy This Joy When I was happiest I longed most, says Istra, for death For whatever was beyond the Grey Mountain It was so intense it almost hurt me The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing to reach the Mountain or the island, or the blue flower, or the Great Beyond The longing for home Then, the perfection of the moment when each realizes the other s ignorance of an entire world When Psyche realizes Orual cannot see her palace when Orual realizes Psyche sees it right there in the fields and forest And then the rain, the terrible rain that falls on Psyche and she feels it not, and Orual tries to cover and comfort her and cannot They are divided by the gods The gods The West Wind, a young, rough god The god who comes to Psyche in the night, who looks upon Orual with passionless and measureless rejection And the ending is the most Sublime piece of writing I have encountered 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 That is a perfect summary of Christian theology all you need to know to be saved, yet couched in mythology. One of the lesser known of Lewis fiction works, this is a masterful retelling of the mythological story of Cupid and Psyche that paints a vivid picture of how selfish humanly love is, and to what extent we will go to protect it The narrative serves to humble the reader as the heroine of the novel transforms from the pitiable victim to the chief antagonist, and at the same time we realize that we are her, always pondering on the wrongs done to us and the shortcomings we experience It s an excellent novel that speaks to how we, as humans, tend to see our own plight in life as the most dire, and perceive others as being part of our plight or calloused to our plight Yet, in the end, we are most likely the villains in a myriad of others stories as much as the tragic hero of our own A great reminder that whatever my circumstances, I am in thousands of stories other than my own, and only I can choose the color of my character