Sunday, November 22, 2015

Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis {review} ~ C. S. Lewis Week

GUYS.  So my friend Abigail is hosting a C. S. Lewis party (mayhap you've noticed the button on my sidebar?) this week, November 22-29, the latter date happening to be the beloved author's birthday!


I got very excited when I heard about it, because, hello, Lewis.  I don't know how much I'll be able to participate in the party post-wise, but I at least wanted to contribute this--very short--review of (probably) my favorite Lewis book:  Till We Have Faces.

(Originally posted on Goodreads; I've made minor adjustments.)

This book is the one that solidified Lewis's place as my favorite author. (Mere Christianity started the process, though.) What blew me away was the utter complexity of his writing (and also his impressive flexibility and aptitude in being able to change his style for his various books). The first time I read it, I didn't know "where he was going with it," so to speak, and when I reached the end I was floored by the power in his pen.


Harnessing all the desperate, raging impotency in the human outcry against injustice to the self, Lewis makes me feel with Orual even her most irrational and base emotions, and then leads her to one of the most powerful and earthshaking climaxes--revelation from "the gods."

Lewis was skillful enough to make his Christian theme very subtle, but still very noticeable. He never once mentions the Christian God by name, but the ending chapters (which are sheer joy to the book-lover's soul) make it unequivocally clear that all along he has been painting a tale on a mirror, to show us where we, even dedicated Christians, have all felt a complaint against our God.

Aside from the stunning theological inflection of the book, the story itself is compelling. One feels for Orual in the midst of her unlovable-ness, wishes her happiness and peace, mourns with her every time they are taken away, and rejoices when at least she realizes:


"How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?"

24 comments:

  1. THIS REVIEW!! It was very nice to read. Each sentence rolled off my mind's tongue. And the header! Stunning. :)

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    1. Thank you SOOO much, Laura! Your comment made me so happy; you're such a sweetheart :)

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  2. Oh, my . . . I need to read this book. Really. I think it would do a lot for me, as I've rather been struggling with those kinds of questions lately :) And C.S. Lewis is just SO BRILLIANT. Seriously.

    Since Lewis is your favorite author, I'm assuming you must be a "Narnia person"? And, if so, I must ask you the question that I ask all fellow "Narnia people": What's your favorite book in the series?

    Mine is "The Silver Chair." Forever. :)

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    1. Jessica, if you've been struggling with those kinds of issues lately (and even if you haven't), I DEFINITELY recommend it! It is truly stunning. Have you read The Problem of Pain? YES I KNOW ISN'T HE JUST!

      Yes, I do love Narnia :D I'm so glad you do too! My favorite would have to be a tie between The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy. I loves them muchly :D

      The Silver Chair is soooo good. Wow. I really like that one too:)

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    2. I definitely will try and read it--maybe over Thanksgiving? No, I've never tried The Problem of Pain but I think I've heard of it :)

      The Magician's Nephew and The Horse and His Boy . . . those are kind of tied for my "next favorites," after The Silver Chair. They're some of the best. (Actually, THAHB was my top favorite when I was younger.) Don't you just love Corin? And Bree? They're so much fun :)

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    3. That's a great idea! It's really amazing:) Yeah, The Problem of Pain deals with the same kind of issues but in a very different style. It's really good, too, but some of it went a little over my head ;D

      Really?! That's so cool, because The Silver Chair is MY next favorite after TMN and THaHB! :D Yes, I love Corin so much! But I'll admit I don't really like Bree as much as I used to. He's just so…arrogant and condescending. Which I know is the POINT, because he changes, but still;)

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  3. I read this back in high school but I really think I need to re-read it. :)

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  4. Thanks so much for this post!!

    Oh, I need to read this book. I think you described the power of Lewis' writing perfectly... He was truly gifted. That second picture though, is just AMAZING. Everything in that quote is so profound and scary, and comforting all at once.

    This was simply splendid. Thank you so much!

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    1. Thank YOU so much for the blog week!:)

      Yes! You will really like it, I think, Abby! Aww, thanks... I KNOW, isn't it? That's a great way to describe the book: "profound and scary and comforting all at once". Really, that's exactly what it is.

      Thanks so much!!!

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  5. C.S. Lewis is amazing. The End.

    I haven't read this book yet but it looks just so wonderful!! "You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away." Mah gash. I mean to say . . .

    I'm speechless.

    P.S. Thank you :)

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    1. YES. I agree.

      Oh, Rosie, IT IS. Haha, exactly: "I mean to say..."

      I'm always kind of speechless when I finish reading it, myself. It's simply amazing.

      Aww, thank YOU! Loved your comment, as always;)

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  6. Oh, it seems like forever since I've commented over here!

    Great review, as usual. My dad read this, but I haven't yet. What do you think of Out of the Silent Planet?

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    1. Aww, I've missed you, Meredith! But I haven't commented over on your blog for too long as well, so we're even :D

      Thanks so much! I liked Out of the Silent Planet…it's not my favorite of his books, partially due to the fact that I'm not THAT big of a science fiction fan, but it was definitely well-written! There were some parts that my inner bookworm rather drooled over, they were so good:) What about you?

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    2. It wasn't exactly my favorite, either. Both because of the sci-fi and other things I wasn't ecstatic about. But there was one part I wrote down in my notebook, it was so pretty! His writing style and world-building are awesome.

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    3. Yeah :P What were the other things you weren't crazy about, if you don't mind my asking? You totally don't have to tell me, of course, if you'd rather not :) Yes, aren't some of the parts just "Wow"?! :D

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  7. This was a very well-written review, Olivia. Excellent. And that quote at the end! That is SO good! Thanks for sharing. I've never read this book, but I should probably add it to my mental reading list. :)

    ~Miss March

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    1. Thank you so much, Miss March! Isn't that quote amazing?! Yes, do add it! You shan't regret it;)

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  8. I want to read this. Now.

    That's all. :)

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  9. I've had this book on my bookshelf for a while. I haven't had time to pick it up but after reading your review, I definitely have to pick it up. From the sections that you showed, the language looks so rich and beautiful. Several other people have said that it was a good book, but the quotes in your review did it for me. School has been kind of stressful with finals coming up and completing honors projects, but I will definitely read the book during Christmas break. :-)

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    1. I'm so glad my review helped, Ekaterina! Yes, it is really good. SO textured and impressive.

      Oh, man, do I hear you on the school stress! Most of mine just finished up yesterday, and not a moment too soon. I'll be praying for you!

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    2. Thanks for your prayers. The worst has past. The worst was the chemistry final. I had to complete the chemistry final by Friday midnight to get 10 points extra credit, and I completed the final by 11:53 p.m. Yeah...things have been pretty busy. I have only one final left so far. Thankfully, it's U.S. history, so it shouldn't be too hard, except that it's a lot of points.

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    3. Whoops, I didn't realize I hadn't responded to this!

      Of course! Tests are so stressful *shudders*

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