Takeaway: An unusual re-telling of a greek myth.
I have never heard of this book before I stumbled across it on Audible. I was in the mood for some fiction and wasn’t really interested in any of the books that I had in my wishlist. After surfing around a little while I found that this book. It was the last real fiction book he wrote. It was written and published during his early relationship with Joy Davidman.
According to Wikipedia and the book’s introduction, this was a book Lewis was thinking about from his early days in college. It is a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. (Although I had no idea what the myth was till after I read the book.)
The basic story is that a princess, Orual, raised her sister after the death of her step mother in childbirth. The sister, Psyche, was the most beautiful girl anyone had ever seen while Orual was very ugly. The sisters were separated and the younger sister was married to a God. But the Orual was convinced that the God was not real or that if there was a husband, it was actually a man that was wrong for her sister. She convinces Psyche to violate the conditions of the marriage and the God leaves. But Orual and Psyche are not reunited.
Orual, after living as Queen and ruling her country well for many years, writes a book of complaint against the Gods over her losses and bad treatment.
It is a well written and interesting story, but very different from anything else I have read of Lewis. While it clearly deals with religious themes and the concept of love, meaning and calling, it is not direct allegory like what some of Lewis’ other books are.
Obviously you do not need any background in the original Greek myths, since I know anything about them first. But you may enjoy it more.
I am intrigued by all the different covers that there have been. These are just four, but since it was originally published more than 55 years ago, it has had many editions.