What is love, you ask? Lewis will tell you. Dec 20, 2008
C.S. Lewis' retelling of the myth of Psyche and Cupid is one of the more challenging pieces of literature which I have read lately. Because the narrator is Orual, the sister of Psyche traditionally depicted as the "ugly, jealous" sibling who deliberately separated Psyche from her unseen husband, we see the whole story through the emotions and rationalizations of a flawed individual. Only towards the end of the book (and Orual's life) do we get a clearer understanding of how events really unfolded. Orual goes through her life trying to achieve clarity, to understand why she was so ill-used by the gods. She may have been as ugly as the stories said, but she also loved her sister dearly, and her bitterness over her sister's fate and, even more, her own status as inciter of that fate, becomes her defining characteristic.
I actually went back and re-read the second section of the book to better understand the conclusion Orual comes to at last; this is not a cut and dry, neat resolution. The psychological issues at hand are too complex for a pat ending, anyway. This book deals intensely with the way that love can fill one with life as well as suffocate and devour. Or is the latter form even love at all?
I highly recommend "Till We Have Faces;" it is so refreshing and exciting to be forced to think deeply about a story, and Lewis is a master at it.