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Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold (1956)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,965153934 (4.24)3 / 247
"A repackaged edition of the revered author's retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche -- what he and many others regard as his best novel. C. S. Lewis -- the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics -- brilliantly reimagines the story of Cupid and Psyche. Told from the viewpoint of Psyche's sister, Orual, Till We Have Faces is a brilliant examination of envy, betrayal, loss, blame, grief, guilt, and conversion. In this, his final -- and most mature and masterful -- novel, Lewis reminds us of our own fallibility and the role of a higher power in our lives"--… (more)
Recently added byJozsefSzarka, SheriRawlings, rustymodem, Jbbradley31, BeauxBooks, private library, beabread, Andy5185
Legacy LibrariesGillian Rose, C. S. Lewis
  1. 40
    Phantastes / Lilith by George MacDonald (charlie68)
  2. 30
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (AnnaClaire)
    AnnaClaire: A different author retelling a different myth, but they still seem to fit together nicely.
  3. 20
    Circe by Madeline Miller (bjappleg8)
  4. 20
    Mythology by Edith Hamilton (sibyllacumaea)
  5. 20
    Cupid: A Tale of Love and Desire by Julius Lester (raizel)
    raizel: A retelling of the Psyche and Cupid myth; Lester's version is for a younger (teen
  6. 10
    Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: Both are stories of strong, motherless women with dysfunctional families who play a part in a mythical tale
  7. 00
    The Golden Ass by Apuleius (TheLittlePhrase)
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» See also 247 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
Lewis' writings are splendid as usual but this book stood out with its dark and chilling prose. I grew up familiar with the tale of Cupid and Psyche, as I'm sure the person reading this is as well, and I'd always simply assumed that the sisters who'd betrayed Psyche and basically ruined her life were like unto Cinderella's step-sisters: evil, hateful, and full of jealousy. But the angle at which Lewis took his retelling was quite interesting and admittedly, it did make more sense than the original tale. There's a lot of underlying messages and themes in Till We Have Faces, which may be confusing to some, but I think that the book was a great read, for sure! ( )
  BooksbyStarlight | Oct 25, 2022 |
An engaging take on an ancient story. ( )
  FaithBurnside | Aug 17, 2022 |
This is one of the best books I've ever read. It's a masterful retelling of Psyche and Cupid. I couldn't put it down. It never leaves my TBR pile. ( )
  Hamptot71 | Jul 18, 2022 |
Incredible. Lewis' final novel explores love and betrayal, the divine and the natural, possession and relinquishing, transformaion, and many other seemingly typical themes, but he weaves them around his main character, Orual, in such a way that she is the most whole character I have ever encountered. A tricky retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth, this is truly one of Lewis' unsung greats. Not for the casual reader, however. It can seem dry and shallow if you don't know the original story, or are looking for fast-paced, page-turning fare. ( )
  MaryJeanPhillips | Jun 22, 2022 |
I like Jack, but I always took his statements in Narnia that he wasn’t a feminist more or less at face value. The “Jesus Feminist” girl likes him too, but it always felt like something that flesh and blood couldn’t verify. He wasn’t mean, but he was more top down than us, and we liked him to keep from hating, because he was sometimes very true, and because we all stand in need. What happens to one, happens to all. But flesh and blood would never find any evidence for our theory.

But the whole time, Jack had this feminist alter ego from ancient times. I never would have imagined that he wrote a book like this if I hadn’t read it. There’s also this great Epictetus character who speaks to the general insanity of ancient life, which dovetails nicely with the feminism. The Epictetus character is also a nice comment on Greek philosophy’s way of life in some ways. I won’t make the points explicit because I don’t think that Jack is hard to read, unless we force difficulty into it because it’s worthwhile so it must be painful, right. But it’s all right there, and I don’t think I could rephrase it in a better way. And the girls, not only as oppressed, but also in relation to beauty, the whole spectrum from plainness, physical beauty, to spiritual beauty—making others around you beautiful. This was a great example of trust coming through; I knew Jack was Jack, but sight unseen you assume that a British middle class Lost Generation man writing in the 50s is only going to find in Greece the stalest bread that he tries to foist on you and the crustiest attitude. But that’s just not the case here. Possibly better than Narnia, if only because through no fault of its own Narnia seems so familiar. This book is the Narnia, feminist. Amazing.

…. I forgot that Jack really did have a lot of respect for the old ‘Paganism’ (his capital letter, in other books); he wasn’t a cursing believer. It seems so impossible, since it was all tyrants and whores and Top40, but I guess there was love and sacrifice too.

…. This Jack I never knew. All is wonder and blessedness. The known is blessed; the hidden is blessed, too.

…. Afterword: I love how the old gods re-stated her nonsense to say what she really meant, like a sort of legal parody, a serious parody, as this is one of my main methods as well. First, we must scrap what you have said as being not what you said, and re-state, What You Are Really Saying. And then, we’ll be done.

—And it’s like, it’s not funny. In the main, it’s not funny. I can’t have a discussion with you if you’re not going to come clean about what you really think.
  goosecap | Mar 18, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 146 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
BascoveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Luca, AraldoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindholm, AndersCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
May, NadiaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Love is too young to know what conscience is"
--Shakespeare
Dedication
To Joy Davidman
Joy Davidman
First words
I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.
Quotations
(Food for the gods must always be found somehow, even when the land starves.)
Now mark yet again the cruelty of the gods. There is no escape from them into sleep or madness, for they can pursue you into them with dreams. Indeed you are then most at their mercy. The nearest thing we have to a defence against them (but there is no real defence) is to be very wide awake and sober and hard at work, to hear no music, never to look at earth or sky, and (above all) to love no one.
Weakness, and work, are two comforts the gods have not taken from us.
To love, and to lose what we love, are equally things appointed for our nature. If we cannot bear the second well, that evil is ours.
The sight of the huge world put mad ideas into me; as if I could wander away, wander for ever, see strange and beautiful things, one after the other to the world's end.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"A repackaged edition of the revered author's retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche -- what he and many others regard as his best novel. C. S. Lewis -- the great British writer, scholar, lay theologian, broadcaster, Christian apologist, and bestselling author of Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and many other beloved classics -- brilliantly reimagines the story of Cupid and Psyche. Told from the viewpoint of Psyche's sister, Orual, Till We Have Faces is a brilliant examination of envy, betrayal, loss, blame, grief, guilt, and conversion. In this, his final -- and most mature and masterful -- novel, Lewis reminds us of our own fallibility and the role of a higher power in our lives"--

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