“Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold” by C.S. Lewis
Given the fact that Lewis is one of my favorite authors, it is a bit surprising that, until recently, I had never read the book which Lewis himself claimed was his best-written and personal favorite of his own works. This is a situation now happily rectified!
Like his friend J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis believed that stories were the best vehicle for spreading ideas. In this story, he adapts the old Greek myth of Cupid & Psyche into a novel told from the perspective of one of Psyche’s sisters. (Incidentally, a summary of the original myth is included as an appendix to the book for those unfamiliar with it, so prior knowledge is no prerequisite for reading this book!) Through fiction, Lewis explores love and the hidden motivations behind human action.
The principal theme of the book is related to the 12th verse from 1 Corinthians 13, the “love chapter”: For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. The novel wrestles with the question of whether we can truly know God without seeing him face to face. While this theme is a decidedly Christian one, the book is devoid of the overtly Christian symbolism common in most of his other works of fiction—something perhaps expected in a book that takes pagan mythology as its source!
If you’ve never read this story, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed; Lewis picked it as his favorite for a reason! Buy it here.