My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In this timeless tale of two mortal princesses- one beautiful and one unattractive- C.S. Lewis reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction. This is the story of Orual, Psyche’s embittered and ugly older sister, who possessively and harmfully loves Psyche. Much to Orual’s frustration, Psyche is loved by Cupid, the god of love himself, setting the troubled Orual on a path of moral development.
Set against the backdrop of Glome, a barbaric, pre-Christian world, the struggles between sacred and profane love are illuminated as Orual learns that we cannot understand the intent of the gods “till we have faces” and sincerity in our souls and selves.
This retelling of Cupid and Psyche was fantastic. C.S. Lewis has taken the task of re-imagining a classic story and gone a step further, weaving it into pure gold and telling it in a way that gave me goosebumps.
This is exactly the kind of read I crave during the summer months. I’m talking something set in ancient Greece or Rome and drenched in ancient lore with a deep message that digs beyond the surface, yet still feels like a “light” read. Dusty, beaten earth, scorching desert sun, war horses, street markets selling fish and produce..you catch my drift. My perfect summer read. And while this book may not contain all of those listed components, I was drawn in and held fast.
The story is told by Psyche’s sister Orual who, despite her (best intentions), finds herself constantly at odds with every decision she makes. Her inner voice is written perfectly, and had me feeling all the right amounts of frustrated, sad, and joyful right along with her narration. And whether or not you know how the story of Cupid and Psyche begins and ends, there is something new to be experienced from this version. TILL WE HAVE FACES is brought down to earth and told from a human perspective which, oddly enough, makes it feel more like actual history than an old tale. If you don’t believe me, check it out and see for yourself.
If I could reset my brain and read this again for the first time, I would. Again and again 🙂