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Till We Have Faces By C.S. Lewis Yip Yak Book Review

Reviewed By Joshua Reed

"Till We Have Faces" is a retelling of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche, but it's far from a simple fairy tale. Instead, C.S. Lewis brings the story to life through the perspective of Orual, a woman who has suffered an abusive childhood and the loss of her mother. Starved for love, Orual develops a possessive love for her younger sister Psyche, which eventually leads her to grow bitter and angry at the gods for depriving her of this love. Through Orual's eyes, we witness a realistic and moving character transformation, as she confronts her own illusions and learns about faith and love.

While C.S. Lewis is best known for his fantasy series "The Chronicles of Narnia," "Till We Have Faces" is a different kind of book. For one, it is intended for adults, not children. There is technically kings and queens and intrique, but it's dominately philosophical and religious, with themes that explore faith, love, and transformation. The story is consistent with a fusion of Christianity and pagan mythology, making for a rich and complex read.

One of the most compelling aspects of "Till We Have Faces" is its emphasis on truth-speaking. As one of the characters, the Fox, puts it: "Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that's the whole art and joy of words." This idea is central to the book, as Orual is forced to confront her own truth by reading aloud her whole "complaint" to the gods, which is essentially her life story. Through this process, she begins to answer her own questions.

The overarching idea of the book is that the human race often complains about the unfairness of life, much like Orual does. But if we read between the lines, we'll find that the "universe" is more than just. As Orual asks at one point, "Are the gods not just?" The Fox replies: "Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?" This quote is my favorite because it touches on the greatest teaching in Christianity, which is the relieving sense of grace.

If you enjoy thought-provoking themes and well-crafted writing, then "Till We Have Faces" is a book that you will strongly appreciate. The story hits its theme hard, and the book is full of quotes that will make you think deeply about faith, love, and transformation. It's the kind of book that you'll want to savor slowly, and perhaps even hang up quotes from it on your mirror as a reminder of its profound insights.