Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

by C. S. Lewis

Paperback(Reissue)

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062565419
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/14/2017
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 20,991
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and have been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898-1963) fue uno de los intelectuales más importantes del siglo veinte y podría decirse que fue el escritor cristiano más influyente de su tiempo. Fue profesor particular de literatura inglesa y miembro de la junta de gobierno en la Universidad Oxford hasta 1954, cuando fue nombrado profesor de literatura medieval y renacentista en la Universidad Cambridge, cargo que desempeñó hasta que se jubiló. Sus contribuciones a la crítica literaria, literatura infantil, literatura fantástica y teología popular le trajeron fama y aclamación a nivel internacional. C. S. Lewis escribió más de treinta libros, lo cual le permitió alcanzar una enorme audiencia, y sus obras aún atraen a miles de nuevos lectores cada año. Sus más distinguidas y populares obras incluyen Las Crónicas de Narnia, Los Cuatro Amores, Cartas del Diablo a Su Sobrino y Mero Cristianismo.

Date of Birth:

November 29, 1898

Date of Death:

November 22, 1963

Place of Birth:

Belfast, Nothern Ireland

Place of Death:

Headington, England

Education:

Oxford University 1917-1923; Elected fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford in 1925

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Till We Have Faces 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 138 reviews.
Katherine Lehtola More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your money - purchase a print copy or meticulously edited ereader version. This is a very poor quality Nook version. The sheer number of mistakes/typos make this a slog-through copy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Till We Have Faces' is a book I have read 5 times and have gleaned something new from it it every time. I am 17, and I first read it at 13. Every time I read it, I am humbled, because it is a mirror to show me my own selfishness and my self-love. This book demonstrates how we must die to ourselves before we can truly live--'If I'm really gonna live I gotta die to myself someday' (U2--Surrender). And the line at the end breaks me every time: 'I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer--before your face all questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words...' An amazing, and beautifully written work. Extremely poetic and elegant, yet humble and edifying in every way. A tapestry of everything beautiful. Highly recommended!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once more, C.S. Lewis surprises his readers with his choice of vibrant characters and compelling themes. A spin-off of the Greek myth, the focus centers on the authentic motives and intentions of its main players. The reader will go so far as to question the gods themselves. This story will leave a powerful impression, requiring readers to look deeply within themselves. How often do we confuse love with dependency, or the ability to care with the tendency to control? Lewis 'seperates the seeds' of the human heart, and invites others to do likewise. 'Till we Have Faces' is an absolutely beautiful adaptation of a story long forgotten (except on Valentine's Day--Cupid's included!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
C.S. Lewis never fails to amaze me. In "Till We Have Faces", his ability to write from a woman's perspective is absolutely incredible. I have read this book many times and never fail to find new depths. Once you finish, you want to start all over again...definitely one of the greatest stories out there.
Rachett More than 1 year ago
Other reviews for this book at Barnes&Noble stated that this book was a hard read, but I did not feel that was so. The ending was a little hard to slug through because it started to get a little dry, maybe that is what the other reviewers meant? At any rate, a wonderful retelling of the Psyche myth; I have never seen the events told from the point of view of one of the sisters before. The only thing that disappointed me -and that was only a very little- was the lack of romance which I have come to associate with the story of Eros and Psyche. However, as this is told from the perspective of the eldest sister, who believes her sister has gone mad, the lack of romance is fitting. The psychology of the characterrs as they struggle with the opposing forces of faith and science are artfully and realistically depicted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although a skeptic of the plot at first, my ability to put this book down decreased as the tale unfolded. 'Till We Have Faces' is a spin-off of the classic Greek myth containing Cupid and Psyche. Retelling a traditional myth by adding depth to the plot and character interaction created one fantastic read! It jumped straight to the top of my favorite book list as soon as I finished the last page. C.S. Lewis sure hit something with this book! So, if you are looking for a myth, but want something with a much more energetic and developed plot, this should be your next purchase.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a very good book. It was a little difficult to understand in the beginning, but after the first chapter I was able to comprehend this interesting story about the classic myth of Cupid and Psyche. I have not read many of C.S. Lewis's works, but this is by far my favorite. This book is full of passages that caused me to stop and think about what is happening, something I do not usually do while reading. I would reccomend this book to people who enjoy mythology or fiction, or who like a challenge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am sixteen years old, and I have read this novel numerous times. Every time I find a new lesson and hidden theme. This is a book that entices the senses with its beautiful diction. It combines fantasy with realism, C.S. Lewis truly was a brilliant philospher and writer. I have read most all of his works of art (if you will), and have found that this particular masterpiece has stimulated me to grow as an abstract thinker. I aclaim this book with the highest regard.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book had me so captivated from the very first word. I read the entire story within three hours and then read the book again later that week because it was so amazing and magical. It is by far the best book I have ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up knowing nothing about it, but I loved C.S. Lewis. I was unable to put it down, it left me enchanted for many days after reading it and really changed my life in many ways. I say you must read it! Lewis is able to make us see in his stories those things which belong to another world, as if a veil is lifted from our eyes and we are able to see for the first time. After you finish reading it you'll want to re-read it again right away. This book shows us ourselves in a true light. For me it was a return to a wonder of life and beauty, what Lewis describes as moments of joy. I cannot say enough about this book... it was Lewis' favorite too. I'd suggest reading Surprised by Joy or Mere Christianity first.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this for the first time back in high school, and loved it. I didn't know much of Greek mythology back then, and now having improved my knowledge of the subject, can really appreciate the beauty of this book.
Victorya on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow, this book strongly affect me in a positive way. The first 50 pages were okay. Period pieces are not always my favorite. I kept reading since CS Lewis is my favorite author, then I got hooked. The last 50 pages I finally understood what the book was REALLY about and finished the book sobbing at 4 in the morning. It's been over ten years since I read it and I think of it often. It makes you think about your own life and if you are having an impact on those around you for good.
maryh10000 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely one of my all-time favorite books.
wewerefiction on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this book for the Once Upon a Time challenge for very simple reasons. First, it came up when I searched for ¿mythology¿ at my bookstore¿s website. Second, it was written by C.S. Lewis. Third, it is ¿a myth retold,¿ as the cover says, and I quite find myself enjoying these sorts of things ¿ where an author takes a well-known (or sometimes not well-known, depending who you are and your history in this field of study) myth or folktale and either rewrites it from the perspective of someone else in the story, or rewrites it as if it were happening in present time to fit up with present politics and habits. Sometimes I fancy I¿d make a study of such books and on more than a few occasions I considered getting a degree in analyzing such literature. But when it comes down to it, all I really enjoy is reading it and reflecting on the differences afterwards.Before I finished the first part of the book (there are two) I was telling Richard how this was not at all what I expected from this book. I expected it to simply be a retelling of the myth but from another¿s perspective (as I said above); and although this would require some changes (whether because of faulty memory or differing opinions), I didn¿t expect the entire myth to be turned into something quite different. However, by the time the first part of the book ends, this is explained and with such fluidity that I wondered why I didn¿t pick up on it before. Of course when retelling a story like this and creating a world around it, one will change bits and make up parts to satisfy the listener. If the story had been told as it really happened (according to the narrator of this book), it wouldn¿t touch on the human motifs that the myth itself touches on ¿ jealousy, greed, anger, and so on. Those elements which are in all the stories of the gods. My first reaction was wondering why the Queen (or Orual as she emerged from that persona) took the myth such to heart. I understand that it was almost completely false and didn¿t illustrate properly her struggle with what was true and what was hidden ¿ it merely made her a jealous sister who wish to destroy Psyche¿s life, instead of a concerned and truly loving being who wanted only to save Psyche from what could possibly be a very elaborate lie. However, she was familiar with those sorts of exaggeration. As the Queen, she wore a veil to hide her ugliness, but eventually ceased to reveal that was the reason why the veil was there. So, over time, no one remembered her face, and various tales sprung up to explain the veil ¿ a pale face full of nothing; such stunning beauty to make Aphrodite jealous, et cetera. She didn¿t deny these tales, and indeed, almost encouraged them; in any case, the fact that these were false stories of her true self didn¿t bother her. So why is it that this story put her in such a rage? I wondered, before starting the second part, why it was necessary to write a book against the gods who lied about her, but not against the people who lied against her? I supposed it was just another thing to set her apart from the gods who she hated so much. Her liking for the people seemed to recover so quickly after they had condemned Psyche, but her liking for the gods couldn¿t recover as they condemned herself as well. Perhaps what angered her so much was that it angered her that she really was at fault for Psyche¿s downfall, so she deserved that punishment. She questioned their motives ¿ hiding things from her and causing her to make a decision ¿ and ultimately decided that they were at fault for the choice she made. Maybe it¿s odd to think of that now, as a large part of us living today live under a god who emphasizes that a choice is your own. But then in the second part, Ansit (Bardia¿s wife) asks the Queen if she loves as the gods do, and I took it to mean that the gods love is full of selfishness and pain; they lie to themselves that this solution is better for the person beloved. Orual believed th
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title of Till We Have Faces has always intrigued me, and I will say here and now that it has to be one of the best titles I have ever seen. I went into the book not really sure what to expect, and Lewis surprised me greatly with the story he chose to tell. Who would have thought he had such sensitivity, to write from the perspective of a female character with almost frightening insight? Till We Have Faces is an imaginative retelling of the myth of Psyche, who was married to a god but was not allowed to see her husband who came to her in the night. According to the myth, Psyche's jealous sisters convinced her to take a lamp and look upon her husband to know what he really was. When Psyche does this, the god's jealous mother gets power over her and sends her to wander the earth and perform impossible tasks, until the day when she accomplishes them all and becomes a goddess herself. Psyche is then reunited with her husband and the story ends happily. Lewis chose to tell this story from the perspective of one of Psyche's sisters, Orual. This choice breathes new life into an old myth and allows Lewis to explore what must have been for him a very different landscape: the heart and mind of a woman. Orual is ugly. Not just plain, not just mildly unattractive; ugly. She is three years older than her pretty sister Redival, and they live with their father the King in the poor country of Glome. The country is in decline and the King is unable to get heirs. When he marries a young princess from a neighboring country, she dies in childbed bearing him another daughter. This daughter is Psyche. From the first, Orual loves Psyche more than any other and cares for her like a mother. And Psyche grows into a perfectly beautiful and loving girl. She is the darling of the kingdom, until one day the Priest of Ungit comes to tell the King that his perfect daughter must be sacrificed to turn the fortunes of the land. Psyche will be given to the son of Ungit, a Shadowbrute who will take her as his wife ¿ a sort of death in itself, and certainly thought to entail physical death as well. Orual is enraged by her father's selfish acquiescence to the people's demands, and he beats her for her attempts to stop the sacrifice. Psyche is carried away up the Mountain while Orual lies wounded and ill, and it is many days before Orual is strong enough to attempt the journey up the Mountain to gather whatever is left of her sister and give it burial. But when Orual makes the journey (in company with Bardia, the captain of the King's guard), she is amazed to find her sister not only alive, but glowing with health and happiness. Orual cannot see the glittering castle that Psyche says is her home with the god her husband, and is terrified that her sister is being duped by an outlaw or some such villain, or a monstrous god. For Psyche may never see her husband when he comes to her in the night. Orual is faced with a choice. Either she must leave her sister in what she thinks is deluded happiness, or she must convince or force Psyche to leave her husband. Orual tells Psyche that she will kill herself unless Psyche agrees to look upon her husband (thinking that the sight of his monstrosity will convince Psyche to return to Orual). When Psyche lights the lamp and looks upon her husband, a curse falls on her from Ungit, the god's jealous mother, and both she and Orual are condemned to an anguish scarcely imaginable for the rest of their lives. Orual starts the book in great anger against the gods. Far from not believing in them, she sees them as malevolent and selfish beings who sadistically enjoy the struggles of humanity. The book begins with Orual's tired anger: I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of the gods. I have no husband or child, nor hardly a friend, through whom they can hurt me. My body, this lean carrion that still has to be washed and fed and have clothes hung about it daily with so many changes, they may kill as soon a
KarlNarveson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This, the only work of fiction C.S. Lewis wrote after he met his wife, just happens to contain the only allusion to menstruation in his works that I am aware of (when the tutor brainstorms a list of excuses that the king might offer the priest if he wishes to delay the sacrifice of his only daughter to the goddess). Many of our reviewers have noted that this is a first-person narrative with a female narrator, saying e.g. "Who would have thought he had such sensitivity, to write from the perspective of a female character with almost frightening insight?" Not just any woman, though: the narrator is one of the bad sisters in a fairy tale. Jane Smiley in A Thousand Acres retold King Lear from the point of view of Goneril, but in order to make Goneril sympathetic, she has to turn Lear into a wicked monster. No wicked monsters in this story. The narrator pays lip service to her Greek tutor's Stoic teaching that people are not wicked, and their conflicts arise only from weakness and ignorance; and that includes her difference of opinion with her sister Psyche over whether she ought to shine a light on her mysterious bridegroom. Readers who come to this story from the Chronicles of Narnia or Out of the Silent Planet will notice a new diffidence in Lewis. No longer does he have an explanation for everything.But enough talk of doubts and mysteries and ambiguities. The surface story is a gripping yarn, set in a convincingly imagined barbarian kingdom, with never a dull moment. Before I quote the opening paragraph, let me promise you that the whole story lives up to the promise of its opening.I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods. I have no husband or child, nor hardly a friend, through whom they can hurt me. My body, this lean carrion that still has to be washed and fed and have clothes hung about it daily with so many changes, they may kill as soon as they please. The succession is provided for. My crown passes to my nephew.Being, for all these reasons, free from fear, I will write in this book what no one who has happiness would dare to write.
Sambelini on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In short, I loved this book. It is probably my favourite book altogether, and definitely my favourite by Lewis. Now, let me tell you why.Myth, originality, spirituality, personality, humanity - they all come together flawlessly in this book. The characters are deep, each having layers of identity that make them believable, relatable, and altogether captivating. And, on top of this, the main character is a somehow loveable antihero, Orual, whose imperfections make the story both tragic and beautiful. She is the ugly daughter of an angry king, the older sister of the beautiful, goddess-like, Psyche, and the sad victim of so many heartaches that have truly made her stronger - but, perhaps a little calloused.This story uses the symbol of faces to evoke identity and self-awareness. It shows the long and dwindling path that Orual takes to find her face - and see herself for the first time.Absolutely breath taking. The creativity and originality of Lewis poured into the powerful archetype of Myth, this rendition of Cupid and Psyche's story is a recipe for a classic, however obscure it may be!
Spirit_Filled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing. This book was truly a priority until I finished it. I read this book during a hectic time in my life (work related), but I made sure to spend time during my day to be taken away while reading. It was beautifully written and has become one of my favorite.
davidpwithun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Yet another classic book from THE classic Christian author. A beautifully told story with a beautiful, and eternally timely, moral.
aevaughn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This retelling of the myth of Pschye is from a different point of view than the original myth, which adds tremendous insight into the meaning behind the myth. This is particularly true from a Christian perspective. As always with C.S. Lewis an excellent piece of work!
EustaciaTan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love love love C. S. Lewis. And not just for the Narnia Chronicles, I love almost all his books, especially The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity. So when I first heard of this book on IntoTheBook, I knew that I had to read it. And when I saw this at the Christian Bookstore at Ochanomizu, the price tag wasn't even a consideration (but for the record, it's the most expensive book I've bought, and the only one I paid full price for, since coming to Japan).Till We Have Faces is a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. In the original story, the two sisters of Psyche are evil and jealous. But like Wicked, C. S. Lewis shines a different light on one of the oldest sisters - Orual (or so he calls her).Orual grew up ugly and unloved. But when Psyche is born (and her mother dies as a result), Orual transfers all her love to the beautiful Psyche. Eventually, this love is twisted into hate after Psyche's "sacrifice" to the Shadowbrute. Bred on a mixture of Glom (the country where Till We Have Faces is set) superstition and Greek logic (courtesy of the Greek Slave The Fox/Grandfather), Orual is conflicted inside. Indeed, after she becomes Queen of Glom (a very capable queen I might add), she's still tormented by what she did to Psyche by convincing her to betray her husband. So what she does is to push Orual inside her and let the Queen take her place. In this way, she becomes numb.It is only after she hears the twisted version of Cupid and Psyche (or to the reader, the conventional version), is she inspired to pen her version (or the 'true' version) of the story as a complaint to the gods. But when she is truly heard, she sees that her complaint was very different from the tale she told. Her complaint is one of bitterness, that she could not wholly possess the love of her sister. The writing in this book is marvellous. I really do wonder why it's not more popular. C. S. Lewis has spun a marvellous story and got me to look at the original myth in a whole new light. It felt as though it was an ancient myth, but it also felt modern at the same time. The language is easy to understand and very absorbing.In short, this is an excellent book (I love how I've been finding a lot of excellent books since coming to Japan). It's not only an entertaining tale, it's also a story about love, what it is, and what it is not.
davegregg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow. My favorite Lewis book, along with 'Perelandra'! Wow. In this book he comes closest to his "master", George MacDonald.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did. Lewis¿ re-telling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid sounded like something I would love, but it just didn¿t work for me. The basic story follows the life of the three daughters of the cruel King of Glome. One daughter (Psyche) is sacrificed to the gods and this breaks the heart of her older sister Orual. The story is told from the Orual¿s point-of-view. She is homely, but brave and has always cared for her two beautiful sisters. As the plot progresses she must question her motivations, is it love or jealousy that propels her to protective nature? I didn¿t like the main character, her actions or her narration. The steady flow of the book falters about halfway through and never regains its footing. I think, for me, it was just a classic case of not connecting with the lead character and never becoming fully invested in her tale.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A compelling re-telling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. For the first 3/4 of the book, I couldn't put it down. I'm a big fan of C. S. Lewis' writings. Lewis has a way with a story, and he certainly had his way with this one! However, I would have preferred a book that ended after Part One. I found Part Two confusing and uninteresting.
WintersRose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my all-time favorite book. I've read it four times and will certainly read it many more times. Lewis's protagonist, Orual, is torn between the rational--represented by her Greek tutor and faith--represented by Orual's sister Psyche, who believes she is loved by Cupid, the god of love. Lewis, as the most rational of writers, is the perfect author for this them. The characters are beautifully drawn and the story captures you. Even though I've read it over and over, I can't put it down. The ending makes me cry every time because it's so powerful.