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The Great Divorce

August 19, 2007

I’ve just finished reading the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. This is an allegory probing heaven and hell in a similar way that The Screwtape Letters did with demons. Having read the whole book in a cursory fashion over the last day I am struck with a few thoughts.

One is that Lewis is brilliant at writing not to others but to the individual. By this I mean that at least one of the characters used as an example spoke directly to my faults. I think anyone would be hard pressed to read this and not hear Lewis speaking directly to them at given points. The idea that we have to completely let go of ourselves to have God, and all the ways we can hold on to ourselves, are frighteningly relevant 62 years after The Great Divorce was written.

This particular paragraph spoke right to me:
“There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself… as if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist! (…) It is the subtlest of all the snares”

Another thing about Lewis’ writing in General, and this book specifically, is how accessible the writing is.  The Great Divorce, allegory aside, is also an enjoyable read.  Lewis has a delightful mastery of prose.  As well he has George MacDonald as his Virgil in this story.

My last thought on this book (for this post anyway) is a quote used from Harper’s Magazine.  C.S. Lewis “makes you sure, whatever you believe, that religion accepted or rejected means something very serious.”  Whether you believe in God or not The Great Divorce is an important read to get a glimpse into the spiritual consequences of how we live our lives.

I have a copy I could lend you.

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2 comments

  1. Love that book. Thanks for your thoughts.


  2. Hi Liam, this likely the only CS Lewis writing I haven’t read. You’ve certainly tweeked my interest…I shall go looking. Thanks!



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