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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold | [C. S. Lewis]

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche's unattractive and embittered older sister, who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche's fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery. Lewis's last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.
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Publisher's Summary

C. S. Lewis reworks the timeless myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction in this novel about the struggle between sacred and profane love.

Set in the pre-Christian world of Glome on the outskirts of Greek civilization, it is a tale of two princesses: the beautiful Psyche, who is loved by the god of love himself, and Orual, Psyche's unattractive and embittered older sister, who loves Psyche with a destructive possessiveness. Her frustration and jealousy over Psyche's fate sets Orual on the troubled path of self-discovery.

Lewis's last work of fiction, this is often considered his best by critics.

©1956 C. S. Lewis PTE, Ltd.; (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"In Mr. Lewis's sensitive hands the ancient myth retains its fascination while being endowed with new meanings, new depths, new terrors." (Saturday Review)
"Whenever Nadia May reads, a sensation of comfort creeps into the atmosphere. Her vocal clarity and understanding of the author's meaning bring pleasure and even security to the listening of each work." (AudioFile)
"The most significant and triumphant work that Lewis has...produced." (New York Herald Tribune)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Stephanie 07-07-10
    Stephanie 07-07-10

    There is no frigate like a book ~ E. Dickinson

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of a kind."

    I could not rate this author, book, and narrator more highly. I own a hardback copy of 'Till We Have Faces' but I purchased this audio edition too! Adults who enjoyed C.S. Lewis' 'Chronicles of Narnia' or his 'Space Trilogy' will be carried away by this book. The story follows three sisters-- one ugly, one beautiful as a goddess, and one somewhere between the two. As their lives and fates unfold the author unveils human nature with a depth of perception that takes my breath away. One word of advice, if you prefer 'lite' reading this may not be for you. It is well beyond 'Twilight' and things of that nature. Reference my review list if you want to get a sense of what I like.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Shields 05-31-11 Member Since 2003

    Book blogger at Bookwi.se

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    "An Unusual re-telling of a greek myth"

    I have never heard of this book before I stumbled across it on Audible.

    According to Wikipedia and the book’s introduction, this was a book Lewis was thinking about from his early days in college. It is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. (Although I had no idea what the myth was till after I read the book.)

    The basic story is that a princess, Orual, raised her sister after the death of her step mother in childbirth. The sister, Psyche, was the most beautiful girl anyone had ever seen while Orual was very ugly. The sisters were separated and the younger sister was married to a God. But the Orual was convinced that the God was not real or that if there was a husband, it was actually a man that was wrong for her sister. She convinces Psyche to violate the conditions of the marriage and the God leaves. But Orual and Psyche are not reunited.


    Orual, after living as Queen and ruling her country well for many years, writes a book of complaint against the Gods over her losses and bad treatment.



    It is a well written and interesting story, but very different from anything else I have read of Lewis. While it clearly deals with religious themes and the concept of love, meaning and calling, it is not direct allegory like what some of Lewis’ other books are.

    Obviously you do not need any background in the original Greek myths, since I did not know anything about them first. But you may enjoy it more.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Des Moines, IA, United States 07-26-12
    Karen Des Moines, IA, United States 07-26-12
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    "Gripping, emotionally jarring, and elegant!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Till We Have Faces to be better than the print version?

    Yes. Contrary to my normal opinion, I was able to become more intrigued by and absorbed in the story as I heard it as if from the lips of an old traveling bard, spinning a web of a story for me in vivid detail and yet piercing opaqueness.


    What about Nadia May’s performance did you like?

    Her depiction of Orual is unmatched. She is able to embody the hollow desperation of Orual's life, and the intensity of her love for Psyche, without making it overdramatic or cliche. Her distant and almost stern tones accurately convey the fear and pain Orual's endures, and her voice sounds sometimes harsh and human, sometimes fiercely metaphysical.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The scene in the forest when Orual finds Psyche for the first time after Psyche's sacrifice is particularly moving to me. The eeriness of the surreal situation sent shivers through my mind, and almost made me begin to question what was awake and what was dream, what was delusional imagination and what was hard reality. Orual's fearsome almost possessively protective love of Psyche was well portrayed in this scene as well.


    Any additional comments?

    I love this story, and the performance was superb!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    paul Port Huron, MI, United States 07-09-12
    paul Port Huron, MI, United States 07-09-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Good beyond hope..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to everyone high school age and older. It's a book full of honesty and wisdom.


    What other book might you compare Till We Have Faces to and why?

    I would compare this book to The Lord of the Rings. It is a book about Western Civilization with the familiar Christian ethos and Greek wisdom. It isn't high adventure like LOTR, but the charactes are lovable and memorable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The best scene is when the protagonist has to stand before an almighty court and make her complaint against the gods. She realizes that her own will has been the thing that made what could have been a beautiful and meaningful life into a petty and difficult one.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Time for reflection is really helpful with this book. One chapter per night was good.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Smith 06-11-12
    Cindy Smith 06-11-12
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    "Excellent"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Till We Have Faces to be better than the print version?

    Yes! It was much easier to follow the audio version, especially with Nadia May's vocal distinction of the characters.


    Any additional comments?

    I had listened to this book read from another source and this reading by Nadia May was far superior.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy L. Hanna Canyon Lake, Texas USA 04-19-12
    Nancy L. Hanna Canyon Lake, Texas USA 04-19-12

    Lorna Redhawk

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    "Profound!"

    The best retelling of the myth of Psyche and Eros I've ever heard! And the perspective! My what depth and insight! I saw a bit of myself in Psyche's elder sister and even recognized some of my own self-deceptions! An intense and introspective listen to this book could do away with shelves full of "self-help" guides and put many a marriage counselor out of business. Put yourself in the shoes of the eldest sister and see if you do not also see yourself in her plight...Be prepared, it could be a bit painful to become so quickly enlightened, shifts in paradigms can hurt a bit.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Sherman, TX, United States 09-14-13
    Nicole Sherman, TX, United States 09-14-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

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    "My favorite by Lewis!"
    What did you love best about Till We Have Faces?

    Rich philosophical underpinnings. Brilliantly told & prose that I can read over and over again.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Orual, our hero and our villain. I found a kindred spirit in her railings against the gods and fate and her revelation was my own.


    Have you listened to any of Nadia May’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No & I felt it could have had better narration.


    Any additional comments?

    I love this book like no other. The audio version is just another way for me to absorb it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Abbott 09-08-13
    A. Abbott 09-08-13
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    "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold"
    What made the experience of listening to Till We Have Faces the most enjoyable?

    The protagonist's biggest struggle is with her lot in life (being seen as ugly), but what really captured the greatest pinpoint of the book was her acceptance of a greater truth beyond the apparent.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The mysticism of the mythology that Lewis incorporated into the book, more apparent towards the end.


    What does Nadia May bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nadia May did an excellent job at capturing the atmosphere of each character, which I felt was much better served than if I had read the book myself.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the protagonist confronts the god near the end of the novel.


    Any additional comments?

    As I am mostly unfamiliar with Lewis's works (which may seem a major setback), I really, really enjoyed this story. To my understanding, the more religious and Christian overtones aren't fully revealed until closer to the second half of the book, contrary to his other material. This book seemed to capture more of a Jungian type of analysis of the human mind, which put a lot of things into perspective for me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig J. Cheney Aloha, OR United States 07-09-12
    Craig J. Cheney Aloha, OR United States 07-09-12 Member Since 2006

    Sci-Fi Author

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    "Great Story!"
    Where does Till We Have Faces rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    Above average.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Till We Have Faces?

    I particularly enjoyed the ending for its uniqueness. It's so rare when someone doesn't manage to say everything they need to before expiring.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Getting water in the morning and sort of seeing it, then convincing herself it wasn't real.


    If you could take any character from Till We Have Faces out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Psyche. She is the most wholesome and true character.


    Any additional comments?

    Recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Schleifer 12-13-11
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    "For Lewis lovers"
    Where does Till We Have Faces rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This was an excellent performance of


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is Orual, the narrator of the story. If you've ever read


    Have you listened to any of Nadia May???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to any other performances, as far as I know.


    If you could rename Till We Have Faces, what would you call it?

    Psyche, Revisted.


    Any additional comments?

    This is definitely worth listening to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 10 results
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  • Ian
    Chelmsford, Essex, United Kingdom
    1/15/10
    Overall
    "Neglected masterpiece beautifully read."

    For me, this is C.S. Lewis' greatest book. The retelling of the legend of Cupid and Psyche is so imaginative and compelling that it makes you want to extend train journeys. The ending is profound and satisfying. Nadia May is one of the best readers on this site. A must.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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