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Till We Have Faces [Paperback]

C. S. Lewis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1978
A reinterpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Psyche's great beauty incurs the wrath of Venus, who sends Cupid to punish her, but Cupid falls in love with Psyche. In this version, the main character is Psyche's ugly, jealous sister, in whose words the story is told.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins/STL; New edition edition (May 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000625277X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006252771
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 824,983 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.

Product Description


‘He always tells a good story, and this is a splendid, vehement one, full of stone and wind and spears in an old country, wet mist on the hills.… seems to sum up most of what Dr Lewis has been telling us for years.’
The Tablet

‘One of the most eminently readable pieces of fiction that has come my way for a long time.’
Yorkshire Post

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This book was an honor to publish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mask that Everyone Wears 28 July 2003
Myths are often a distillation of human experience and knowledge, pared down to an easily digestible story that is both memorable and instructive. No less so here, as Lewis takes the tale of Cupid and Psyche and adds a small change to the basic tale – but that change reverberates and focuses the message that Lewis is imposing on the tale, a message about what love is versus what many normally think it is.
Lewis sets the tale in the ‘barbarian’ country of Glom, with a King obsessed with getting a son, and thereby cursed with three daughters. Orual is the supremely ugly one, Psyche just as beautiful as Orual is ugly, and the third sister is the personification of greed and petty jealousy. But it is Orual that the book follows, down deep into her basic outlook about herself, her relationship with the Gods, and most especially how her feelings for Psyche and her sense of propriety cause her to commit blackmail in the name of love. Lewis clearly shows that love that does not place the desires of the loved one above any personal sense of right/wrong/duty/honor is not a true love, but rather the product of selfishness, of the ‘I know what’s best for my love’ syndrome.
But this is merely the beginning to the layers of philosophy present in this book, as it calls into question not only if there are gods, but just how mortals can or must perceive them if they exist, and how much ‘God’ is present in everyone. Masks are a symbol here, from the veil that Orual takes to wearing, to those masks used by the priesthood when performing their embassies for their god, to the masks that everyone presents to the outside world.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly retelling of the legend of Psyche 7 Oct 2006
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
C.S. Lewis was of course the author of the "Narnia" children's stories, the moral comedy "The Screwtape letters" and a number of other novels and books about religion, most of them told from a more or less openly Christian perspective.

This brilliant retelling of the legend of Psyche and Cupid is unusual for C.S. Lewis in that it considers the relationship between human and divine while stepping outside his Christian perspective. It is also possibly his best novel.

The story reads as a memoir written in her old age by Queen Orual of Glome, who had been eldest of the three daughters of the previous King. Orual herself is wise but ugly, and loves her beautiful younger sister Psyche in a way which is genuine but fierce and also jealous.

During a famine, The priests advise the King that there is a curse on the land and to lift it he must leave his daughter Psyche chained in the wilderness as a sacrifice to the gods. Orual is frantic and offers herself as the sacrifice instead but neither the King nor the priests will hear of it. Psyche is left chained in the wilderness, and when she is not there the following morning everyone assumes she has been killed. Instead, however, Cupid the God of Love takes her as his wife, refusing to let her see his face.

In the original legend, Psyche is allowed to receive a visit from her two sisters, who are consumed with envy at the sight of the luxurious home which the God has given Psyche, and trick her into shining a light on her husband while he sleeps. Furious at this disobedience, the god condemns her to wander the earth in great misery.

This version is similar, but with two key differences: the first is that Orual cannot see the beautiful house which Psyche believes she is living in.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read 15 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This is an extraordinary work. Compelling, thought-provoking, haunting... in my 20-odd years of reading, only Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights' can surpass this for sheer hypnotic power, and both books have similarly fascinating central characters in Heathcliff and Orual respectively.
Not typical CS Lewis fare, but in my opinion (and, apparently, in his) this is the best of his output.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is another of Lewis's stunning works and it offers something just a little different to the reader. It is a delicately told story of the classic myth surrounding Cupid and Psyche, yet it's beautifully written narrative will leave you pleasantly haunted for a long while after putting the book down. You will almost certainly be able to identify yourself in the main character 'Orual', which is perhaps why this book is so engaging, and the lessons taught with such subtelty by Lewis will not fail to leave an impression. It is a tale about love and redemptive love, of overcoming perceived failings in yourself and of the fine line between total adoration and jealousy. To give a plot synopsis could never do this powerful tale any justice. For anyone who loves mythology or is just interested in something a little different, this is a hugely un-discovered book that i only wish more people have read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended! 21 Feb 2001
Lewis said that this was one of his favourite works, and I must agree that it is very good. Take it for what it is, a brilliantly written piece that involves the reader. There is plenty of imagery, irony and strong allegorical meaning that needs to be understood to be full appreciated.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars ... story and the writing style and everything is just brilliant!...
the story and the writing style and everything is just brilliant!
Lewis gets 5 stars for this storry!
But the quality of the hardcover is just horrible! Read more
Published 8 days ago by Kaja
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Leis's best book
Published 2 months ago by DM SHERWOOD
5.0 out of 5 stars Myth re-boot
Here is a work that will feed mind, heart, and soul.
It’s a reinterpretation of the old myth of Cupid and Psyche, told in one of the few surviving Latin novels, “the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Adam
3.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books I ever read, however: 2 or three pages...
It's a lovely story, gripping and deep at the same time. However there were 2 pages missing, fortunately it was at the beginning and I think I didn't miss anything too important...
Published 9 months ago by Heinrich von Jagwitz-Biegnitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
Other reviewers have provided sufficient detail of the content of the book and many of the reasons that the book is worth 5 stars. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Michael Lumsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep & Beautiful
[Throughout the years, I have written a number of reviews that have never been published online on Amazon. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Mike London
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep & Beautiful, May 16, 2000
[NOTE: I am reissuing my reviews on This review was originally published on Amazon. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2012 by Mike London
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful everytime you read it
I stumbled upon this book about 20 years ago. I loved it from the first time I read it. Everytime i read it I find new points of view to see this story from. Read more
Published on 5 Sep 2010 by Flippy Bippy
5.0 out of 5 stars should still be in print
This is a beautiful and wise book, most loved of CS Lewis' work and his personal favourite, if I recall correctly. Read more
Published on 20 Nov 2009 by H. Child
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Deep and Beautiful May 16, 2000
TILL WE HAVE FACES, is, simply put, one of the most beautiful books I have read. Its depths are enormous, its truth fantastically illustrated, and the author is completely given... Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2007 by Mike London
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