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The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis
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The Great Divorce (edition 1965)

by C. S. Lewis

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Title:The Great Divorce
Authors:C. S. Lewis
Info:New York, Macmillan (08678). 1965, c1946. viii p., 1 l., 128 p. 18 cm.
Collections:Your library, Ether, To read
Rating:
Tags:adventure, religion, Christian, supernatural, ghosts, travel, bus, Heaven, Hell, good and evil, unread, small paperback, Bookcase 6-2

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The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

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» See also 122 mentions

English (66)  German (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
I'm not a great fan of allegory... ( )
  KirkLowery | Mar 4, 2014 |
Another allegory illustrating deep theological ideas. ( )
  krista.rutherford | Jan 3, 2014 |
Some very interesting theological ideas and a brilliant allegory. ( )
  A.J.Lumaren | Sep 13, 2013 |
I tried to get into this literary classic and just couldn't quite understand it. It came highly recommended to me by a friend of mine because he knew I had just read and enjoyed Rob Bell's, "Love Wins". Apparently Lewis and Bell think similarly on issues relating to Heaven, Hell, and the afterlife. But, there was just too much use of allegory and symbolism in "The Great Divorce" that I couldn't bring myself to finish it simply for a lack of understanding on my part. If I can't understand a book then I don't see the sense in continuing to read it. And, so I reluctantly stopped reading this one about halfway through. If you have no problem understanding allegory, then I recommend this book. But, if you are like me and find it difficult to understand allegory, then save yourself the time and read Love Wins instead. ( )
  gdill | May 16, 2013 |
"[T]he damned have holidays - excursions," where they may choose to take a shuttle bus from Hell to Heaven. It allows the damned a sort of second chance, a space in which to reconsider the fundamental choice that determines a person's relationship with eternity.

Our narrator is a curious tourist who speaks with, among others, the ghost of George MacDonald, Scottish fantasy novelist and Christian:
"'Son,' [MacDonald] said, 'ye cannot in your present state understand eternity: when Anodos [protagonist of MacDonald's book PHANTASTES] looked through the door of the Timeless he brought no message back. But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but THIS and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man's past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man's past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say "We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven," and the Lost, "We were always in Hell." And both will speak truly.'" pg. 69

Getting off at the bus-stop in Heaven: "The light and coolness that drenched me were like those of summer morning, early morning a minute or two before the sunrise [this dawn before the sun rise is one's last opportunity to choose Heaven], only that there was a certain difference. I had the sense of being in a larger space, perhaps even a larger SORT of space, than I had ever known before: as if the sky were further off and the extent of the green plain wider than they could be on this little ball of earth. I had got 'out' in some sense which made the Solar System itself seem an indoor affair. It gave me a feeling of freedom, but also of exposure, possibly of danger, which continued to accompany me through all that followed....
".... It was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance, so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison. Moved by a sudden thought, I bent down and tried to pluck the daisy which was growing at my feet. The stalk wouldn't break.... The little flower was hard, not like wood or even like iron, but like diamond.... I noticed that I could see the grass not only between my feet but THROUGH them. I also was a phantom. Who will give me words to express the terror of that discovery?" pp. 19-21

"[A]t the end of all things," those who have chosen the solid, light-filled eternity of Heaven must let go of the damned and allow them their Hell. Otherwise, "the loveless and the self-imprisoned" will "be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to VETO Heaven." pg. 135
  maryoverton | Apr 28, 2013 |
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Epigraph
"No, there is no escape. There is no heaven with a little of hell in it--no plan to retain this or that of the devil in our hearts or our pockets. Out Satan must go, every hair and feather."--George MacDonald
Dedication
Barbara Wall: Best and most long-suffering of scribes
First words
I seemed to be standing in a busy queue by the side of a long, mean street.
Quotations
When the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say, "We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven," and the Lost, "We were always in Hell."
And both will speak truly.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060652950, Paperback)

The Great Divorce is C.S. Lewis's Divine Comedy: the narrator bears strong resemblance to Lewis (by way of Dante); his Virgil is the fantasy writer George MacDonald; and upon boarding a bus in a nondescript neighborhood, the narrator is taken to Heaven and Hell. The book's primary message is presented with almost oblique tidiness--"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'" However, the narrator's descriptions of sin and temptation will hit quite close to home for many readers. Lewis has a genius for describing the intricacies of vanity and self-deception, and this book is tremendously persistent in forcing its reader to consider the ultimate consequences of everyday pettiness. --Michael Joseph Gross

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:47 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A symbolic fantasy which finds a busload of condemned ghosts faced with the choice of giving up their cherished sins to enter the gates of Paradise.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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