Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Till We Have Faces
A few days ago I finished rereading Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis and I'm still processing it. It's been many years since I've read it and I don't know if I ever will read it again. It's one of the most disturbing novels I've read. As I read the book I kept thinking about something Anne Lamott wrote to hopeful novelists about the importance of creating a likable narrator. She viewed this as an absolute necessity to becoming a successful novelist. The fascination however with Lewis's Orual is how detestable she is. There is a lurid egoistic quality about her supposed selfless love of Psyche that is very unsettling. To be honest, I think much of the disturbing quality to the novel comes from the reality that I can easily have the same tendency towards using others to satisfy my own needs and desires. When you peer into the mirror and see a reflection so base and so ugly as the character of Orual, you can't help being disturbed. I think anyone who is honest would see themselves so.