Till We Have Faces

If you were to ask me which fiction selection by CS Lewis I’d recommend, I would say without hesitation The Great Divorce.  I have read it multiple times and always find something new every time I read it.

I recently began Lewis’ Till We Have Faces, one which my husband has long recommended to me.  I was struggling through it until about page seventy, where it turned a corner and I was suddenly getting emotional and asking David to please quote it at my funeral.

(It was really that fast.  One page, sighing and wondering if it’s worth going on.  Next page, aching chest and PLEASE READ THIS WHILE YOU ARE MOURNING MY DEATH.  My husband is a saint for putting up with me.)

Here’s a quote to whet your appetite:

It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine … where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The colour and the smell, and looking at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, … come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I didn’t know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home….  The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.

And in the same vein, from another Lewis selection:  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.”

2 thoughts on “Till We Have Faces

  1. My high school students are reading this RIGHT now. " to find the place where all the beauty came from" and the longing for home. Yes, made for another world. I may send my students HERE when we get to that part!

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  2. Perelandera was the first Lewis book I read, yes Perelandera and not TLTWATW. For me my Lewis/Longing moment is always when Ransom reaches out to pick the fruit when he was hungry and his thirst and hunger were sated but the fruit was so delicious he immediately wanted more, but something told him it was wrong to eat it when he wasn't hungry. I loved that book – it's time for a reread :)We also enjoyed several years ago Suprised By Joy here. I read parts to the boys – his little moss garden, the attic where he and his brother wrote stories and drew maps of imaginary worlds, the description of piles of books around, the passage about Squirrell Nutkin. Jonathan loved that part because that was his favorite Beatrix Potter book too. I just kept trying to get my mind around the fact that Lewis read Potter as a child! I'm convinced the he must have read The Wind in the Willows – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Tumnus…

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