Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review - The Great Divorce

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

reviewed by Linda Cliff.

I did not find The Great Divorce an easy read.  I am a literal person and the story is written as a fantasy so it took me awhile to get into the spirit of the book.  The good news is that the book is short so rereading parts of it did not seem to be burdensome. 
Divorce is written in the first person voice—apparently the voice of Lewis himself. We don’t know how long he was in the Grey Town (hell), but he seems to have recently arrived. He observes that Grey Town is a dreary place and the inhabitants are dour, quarrelsome, and cynical. There is no tormenting fire, and in fact no punishment at all; it turns out that they live here because they choose to live here.
Lewis encounters a number of inhabitants on their way to catch a bus for a visit to another place (you might call it heaven), and Lewis joins them. From this point much of the story revolves around conversations Lewis observes between the inhabitants on the bus and him, each other, and the inhabitants of the place they visit. The conversations  are filled with human insight and well worth reading; you might even see yourself in some of the discussions.
Each visitor from the bus meets someone from their previous life and has a conversation with them. These people are seen as solid people while the vistors from the bus are called ghosts.  The solid people try to convince the visitors that they should stay in this new world, that there are glories to be opened to them.  It is through these conversation that Lewis reveals Gods word .  These conversations give the reader a view of what the afterlife could be like.  Since the book is a fantasy, the reader is asked to look at hell in a way they may not have considered prior to reading this book.
Divorce is thought provoking and will change your thinking. Some of the reviews I read of the book stated that readers changed their persepectives on hell.  The book was written in 1957 which is a much different time from today so this book challenged the traditional views of that time.  I would say that if you read this book you will also find your views challenged.  I will leave you with one quote from the book to reflect upon.
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it.

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