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.
"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)
There is no frigate like a book ~ E. Dickinson
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.
Book blogger at Bookwi.se
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.
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.
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.
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.
I love this story, and the performance was superb!
I would recommend this book to everyone high school age and older. It's a book full of honesty and wisdom.
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.
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.
Time for reflection is really helpful with this book. One chapter per night was good.
Yes! It was much easier to follow the audio version, especially with Nadia May's vocal distinction of the characters.
I had listened to this book read from another source and this reading by Nadia May was far superior.
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.
Say something about yourself!
Rich philosophical underpinnings. Brilliantly told & prose that I can read over and over again.
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.
No & I felt it could have had better narration.
I love this book like no other. The audio version is just another way for me to absorb it.
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.
The mysticism of the mythology that Lewis incorporated into the book, more apparent towards the end.
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.
When the protagonist confronts the god near the end of the novel.
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.
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.
Getting water in the morning and sort of seeing it, then convincing herself it wasn't real.
Psyche. She is the most wholesome and true character.
This was an excellent performance of
My favorite character is Orual, the narrator of the story. If you've ever read
I haven't listened to any other performances, as far as I know.
This is definitely worth listening to.
"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.
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