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Publisher's Summary

C. S. Lewis' dazzling allegory about Heaven and Hell - and the chasm fixed between them - is one of his most brilliantly imaginative tales, where we discover that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside.

In a dream, the narrator boards a bus on a drizzly afternoon in Hell and embarks on an incredible voyage to Heaven. Anyone in Hell is invited on board, and anyone may remain in Heaven if he or she so chooses. But do we really want to live in Heaven? This powerful, exquisitely written fantasy is one of C. S. Lewis's most enduring works of fiction and a profound meditation on good and evil and on what God really offers us.

©1973 C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow!

What did you love best about The Great Divorce?

This is an intersting take on why people choose not to believe or what in their psyche prevents them from being able to believe.

What other book might you compare The Great Divorce to and why?

This one stands on its own.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scene with the selfish mother who distorts something as beautiful as love for her son into something evil.

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

When the lizard was destroyed, the description of the awakening was amazing!

Any additional comments?

I've read this book 3 times now. It's truly amazing.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Wow..

This is the most beautiful story I've ever heard. I started this book and went for a walk and couldn't come home this evening and fear of falling asleep before I could finish it. CS Lewis really outdid himself with the story

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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My Favorite CS Lewis Work

The Great Divorce is a short novel about heaven and hell. It is not meant as a theological work, but rather a tale of a dream. Still, it is a masterpiece of irony, perception and of human folly.

I listened to it in a sitting, and relistened again. Suppose those souls in hell are free to leave at anytime? After spending many years in the torment of hell, will they freely choose to abandon that existance for an eternity of joy and bliss? Apparently most would indeed choose hell. Even when they have loved ones from heaven seek patiently and tirelessly to help them leave hell, they choose misery.

In the past year I have lost two loved ones. The Great Divorce is more than a great comffort, it inspires me to view life with a different perspective.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • JSK
  • Charlotte
  • 07-17-17

Excellent

Of the 100 or so titles I have heard on Audible, this production of The Great Divorce is one of the best. The narration was superb with pleasant pace, tone, and diction. Mr. Rhind-Tutt masterfully spoke for the many characters, each with their own distinct voice. C.S. Lewis is a wonderful author and this is one of his most beautiful stories.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved this book

Listened to this all the way through. Absolutely beautiful portrayal of our inability to let go of this world. Made me swallow hard and think harder. One to pass on through the ages.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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didn't like the narrator

personally not a fan of the narration. it's a bit hard to listen to as a result.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I had forgotten how wonderful CS Lewis is!

If you're a Christian, have you ever wondered how the God who is love could create hell, and who's there? My friend, Fr. Glenn Naguit, recommended that I read The Great Divorce by CS Lewis, which attempts to answer these questions. In short, I loved it!

I loved reading the Narnia series as a child, but I had forgotten how wonderful CS Lewis is. This book is like an adult version of the last book in the Narnia series.

He calls the book a "dream" or a "supposition". He's not really trying to take a guess at what the afterlife is really like, and he's not meaning for it to be a solid work of theology. However, there's something very real about his nudging you to reject the sins that the "ghosts" fall prey to.

His conception of hell doesn't quite line up perfectly with Catholic dogma since he purposely mixes the concepts of purgatory and hell. In his conception, a soul in hell could still choose heaven but is unlikely to, and it requires very hard work. In Catholic dogma, a soul in purgatory would never choose hell, and a soul in hell could never choose heaven. Nonetheless, his thoughts on choosing vs. rejecting God are perfectly relevant to Catholics and Protestants alike, and this is a very fruitful book even though it's a book of fiction.

He tackled difficult questions such as:

- How can you reconcile the fact that we have complete free will in choosing to accept or reject God with the fact that God lives outside of time and already knows our answers?
- What are the sorts of sins that might cause a person that "ain't never hurt nobody" to end up in hell?
- How is it possible for the souls in heaven to not suffer pity for the souls in hell?

I particularly enjoyed tidbits such as the following (warning: spoiler alert):

- What we call love on earth is often just a desire to be loved.
- People are more interested in what other people hear them say about God than about God himself. I loved how he poked fun at academic theologians who like to ponder theology while rejecting the essential truths and also rejecting a deep relationship with God.
- I was seriously cracking up when one of the ghosts suggested that the crucifixion was a terrible tragedy because it prevented Jesus from getting older and having a more refined view of his religion.
- When we get to heaven, we will either say to God, "Thy will be done," or God will say to us, "Thy will be done."
- The imagery he used for heaven, as well as timelessness, were amazing.
- If we arrive in heaven, we will look back on our lives on earth and see that we were already, in a small way, experiencing heaven. The same is true of hell. He even touches on redemptive suffering.
- You can't really love someone until you start to learn to love as God loves.
- It is better to serve in heaven than reign in hell (which is, admittedly, a common phrase).
- It was fun to try to listen to each soul and try to guess which sins they were guilty of. Of course, there are souls guilty of the ten commandments, the seven deadly sins, etc. However, the most fundamental sin they all seem to share was lack of love for God and love of neighbor. In fact, in hell, they're constantly bickering with each other, and are uninterested in going to God even though they're capable of it.
- It's interesting to see how the thinking of the ghosts in hell is on the one hand so reasonable, but on the other hand so absurd.
- The story is told from the cultural backdrop of post world war two England which gives it a nice flavor.
- I listened to the Audible version which made it all the better because the narrator did a great job with the various English accents. By the way, it's only three hours long.

In summary, I found this to be a refreshing read, not only in my own journey toward God but also on my journey to becoming a Discalced Carmelite. As I watched the various ghosts give up on going to heaven, it reinforced how important it is to have perseverance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Chesterton, IN, United States
  • 11-30-17

A Thought-Provoking Allegory

As a non-Christian picking this up, I was admittedly skeptical. However, I promised myself I would keep an open mind. I was greatly rewarded. The humility with which Lewis recounts or constructs this dream sequence/Christian allegory won me over. I took away several lessons. Proceed in humility. Don't cling to petty, ultimately inconsequential bull shit. Trust in the mysterious power of light over darkness, joy over misery. All evil is a distortion of ultimately good, life-giving things. Any attempt to explain eternity and experiences of the eternal through the lens and language of time will not even come close to doing it justice. Even so, we should still attempt to have those glimpses and try to explain them. Don't commit the sin of certainty. Above all, keep eyes and ears and senses open to experiencing the divine within the everyday...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of my favorites.

I love this book. I always revisit it from time to time. Never gets old.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent narrator

Excellent book. But what really made this book great to listen to was the narrator. He captured each character perfectly with his voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful