Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Book Review of The Great Divorce

Reading the works of C. S. Lewis is a literary joy - he has this ability to communicate a truth, perfectly square on the top of its head.  I often find myself saying of various quotes by him: "Yes, that's it exactly!"  Perhaps that's why I appreciate his works so much - because I'm constantly searching for the right word or phrasing to communicate a truth.  It's such work for me, but he seems to do it so naturally.

Reading through and meditating on The Great Divorce by Lewis has been a treat.  It's a fictitious work, as were The Chronicles of Narnia and his Screwtape Letters, all of which are filled to the brim with spiritual truths that beg further discussion.  The title of this short book is a play on words - Lewis creating the title with a nod towards William Blake's infamous work, Marriage of Heaven and Hell.  Lewis, of course, implying with his title that no such marriage is possible.   

The Great Divorce is the story of a bus ride that people take from Hell to Heaven.  The characters of the book are given the opportunity to stay in Heaven, and we're given a thought-provoking look at the reasons that they decide to stay in Hell, each preferring their pet idol over true Joy.  Lest you think these characters are total fools, be prepared that you just might find yourself looking at one or two of your own chains pulling your heart from Him.  

This book would be an excellent choice for a book group - it definitely calls for some thought and meditation versus a quick read-through.  It's a great discussion starter.  Either way, if you wish to read through it yourself or with a group, here is a short on-line study guide with some questions that you can print out to get you thinking.  Here is also a brief but helpful introduction by Langdon Palmer that I suggest you read before beginning the book.  Enjoy!

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