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The Great Divorce [Hardcover]

C. S. Lewis
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Geoffrey Bles; First Edition edition (1945)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006D7JZ0
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.9 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,176,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898-1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a fellow and tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics, the Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

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I seemed to be standing in a busy queue by the side of a long, mean street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Heaven and Hell? 26 Jan 2001
By A Customer
One of the strongest arguments against Christianity is often hurled at the Christian doctrine of Hell. How could a just God, much less a loving God, send anyone to eternal torment? In "The Great Divorce" Lewis presents a different picture of Heaven and Hell-- one that focuses on human free will and the consequences of our own choices. For example, the prideful, mean-spirited man is already in a sort of Hell. The humble, thankful, kind-hearted man is already in a sort of Heaven. "The Great Divorce" takes the reader beyond the fire-and-brimstone pictures of Hell and the streets-of-gold pictures of Heaven to a place of pure spirituality. "The Great Divorce" is MUST reading, a truly great book. Also recommended: "Castle of Wisdom" by Rhett Ellis- a quirky Christian book that will make you laugh and cry.
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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
I first encountered this book during my college years, and at the time I thought that this was the most mind-expanding book that I had ever encountered. Picking it back up all these years later, I still feel the same way!
In this book, the incomparable C.S. Lewis takes the reader on a phantasmagoric journey from Hell to Heaven. There are no lakes of fire here or angels sitting on clouds strumming harps. Instead, the damned, who inhabit a lonely Hell of isolation of the mind, are permitted to journey to Heaven, where they can freely renounce their sinful natures and enjoy an eternity of salvation. But, as the narrator discovers, for all too many, their sinful thought forms (no matter how petty) are much more precious to them than all of the rewards of Heaven.
This book opens the reader’s mind to more powerful ways of thinking about sin and about salvation. It certainly made me look at myself and the people around me with new eye. I highly recommend this book to Christians of every denomination and creed.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A simple story to provoke deep reflection 25 Jan 2005
For such a short book, CS Lewis manages to encapsulate so much human behaviour, desires, fallacies and questions. Not with despair, but with hope. Personally it has helped me see some of my actions and thoughts in a different light and has given me encouragement to make some changes in my life. Lewis manages to do this through imaginative and colourful imagery in his writing that allows you to enjoy this book as thoroughly as any fictional work, yet manages to ask some difficult but important questions. Excellent!!!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you think... 24 Feb 1998
By A Customer
C.S. Lewis himself says in his preface, "The last thing I wish is to arouse factual curiosity about the details of the after-world." This book kept me wondering just what he WAS trying to say--whether he thought there were choices after death, or whether he was just trying to get us to think about life and the terrible seriousness but potentially glorious finality of our choices. If you are the kind of person who believes common 90s philosophies like, "That's YOUR reality but not mine," you should let Lewis tell you a little story. Aside from being very entertaining, it cuts right through a lot of "intellectual" nonsense, and makes you really THINK, maybe for the first time "outside the box" you didn't know you were in.

In the end, I believe he makes it clear that there are no choices after death. His characters are simply acting out the choices we make within the boundaries of time here on earth, with the element of time removed from the story as it plays out in "heaven" and "hell." While you are caught up in the story, you will be in another whole "world" of Lewis's creation, and will be surprised to find yourself back on earth at the end--but you'll now see it (for a while at least) through different eyes. Reality is absolute, and what is seen is the least real of all.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 7 Jun 2006
I think this is one of Lewis' very best. He attempts in this work to paint a picture of heaven and hell based on his understanding on Christian theology; and what a picture it turns out to be! I found myself captivated from the beginning with the author's depiction of the confines of hell and its inhabitants, which then become a perfect foil for the soul-lifting glory of heaven that he goes on to describe. What makes the work so powerful is the believability of the picture that is painted, despite its speculative nature and imaginative leaps.

The book has something to offer to everyone. Heaven and hell become platforms from which to probe the depths of human morals and motivations. Every reader will find himself/herself identifying with one or more of the caricatures compelling constructed by the author. The picture of heaven itself and what it represents (read and find out for yourself!) is enough to provoke thoughts about purpose of the earthly life. The fictional nature of the book allows Lewis to convey a Christian message about heaven and hell without coming across as preachy or high-handed.

A masterful combination of Christian theology, vivid imagination and excellent prose. I cannot recommend this book more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful fantasy again!! 25 Mar 1999
By A Customer
"The Great Divorce" was a wonderful read. I have read 18 of his works (all I recommend) And I recommend this one to anyone who likes to keep their imaginations fresh and young.
It is fantasy in the way that only Lewis can conjure it. Full of insightful analogy and beautiful, flowing metaphor. The imagery he uses brings to vivid life the hidden thoughts and suspicions we all have about ourselves and the workings of the inner man.
All of Lewis' works of fiction, particularly this one carry-at least for me-that movement of mind toward those things that we see as "through a glass darkly". The process of taking the mind there invokes awe and wonder at the limitlessness of God. Not just God's ways but the infinite and out of timeness of God as a personal entity. I brings me to that place of childlike wonderment, and just when you think it gets no better, or deeper, he reveals better and deeper still till it extends beyond the edge of comprehension of our frail human intellect -and can only be embraced by the heart.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars A surprising disappointment
One star only because this book is so disappointing. Disappointing for the typographical errors. Disappointing for occasional poor grammar. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Peter Eglington
1.0 out of 5 stars his theology and outlook is not recommended. This book adds nothing to...
After finding out more about CS Lewis, his theology and outlook is not recommended. This book adds nothing to Christian growth.
Published 1 month ago by jsym88
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
I shall most certainly read this again. It would spoil the read to tell you what it is about and how it dramatically ends.
Published 3 months ago by G. R. Hunt
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Story with a Great Truth
As a child I enjoyed CS Lewis through the Chronicles of Narnia series. Having recently re-read them I was curious to read some of his other writings. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars A really deep and thoughtful story - C S Lewis ...
A really deep and thoughtful story - C S Lewis is a genius. The book cover doesn't match the picture. Was packaged well.
Published 3 months ago by Jess Hunt
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
This is not one of Lewis' best or most famous works, but it makes you think about the importance of making good choices in life, because of the eternal consequences.
Published 4 months ago by I. Scott-thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool
Top man that c s lewis. Knows how to make hard things sound interesting. Wicked cool book (in the good sense).
Published 5 months ago by Ben Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Scintillating & provoking
Just like the brilliant Screwtape Letters it leaves few stones unturned. It will make you examine your motives & your life yet you will be gripped by Lewis's genius storytelling.
Published 7 months ago by Ruth Kadir
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Exploration of a Heavy Topic
C. S. Lewis is one of the best-known Christian writers and apologists. His works have made a huge impact on generations of readers, and have brought Christian thought and doctrines... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Lewis' two best
No, it is not a manual for breaking up a couple; the divorce to which Lewis refers is the undoing of William Blake's "Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Gregory A. Johnson
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