I needed some quick wins to get this goal going, so I started with the books I’ve started but not yet finished. I wandered across Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold in a bookstore and took a picture of the cover to be sure I wouldn’t forget it. I loved Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis’s best-known work, for a lot of reasons, and one of them was the way he writes. He makes me feel like I’m talking to a smart acquaintance at a dinner party – I wanted to see if his fiction felt the same, and it did.
(An early-edition cover – thanks, Wikipedia.)
The gist: A retelling of the myth of Cupid and Pysche which casts Psyche’s sisters in a more nuanced, human, forgiving light. The first 80% reads like an engaging story; the significant learning – about what jealousy is and what it takes to be ready to see God’s plan – comes fast and smooth at the end.
My favorite parts:
- The idea that a woman in a veil creates her own myth – some assume she’s beautiful, some assume she’s hideous, and there can be power in either assumption.
“Do you think we mortals will find you gods easier to bear if you’re beautiful? I tell you that if that’s true we’ll find you a thousand times worse. For then (I know what beauty does) you’ll lure and entice. You’ll leave us nothing; nothing that’s worth our keeping or your taking. Those we love best – whoever’s most worth loving – those are the very ones you’ll pick out.”
“Child, to say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean; that’s the whole art and joy of words.”
“Infinite hopes – and fears – may both be yours. Be sure that, whatever else you get, you will not get justice.”
“Are the gods not just?”
“Oh no, child. What would become of us if they were?”
What I did with my copy: I own it on Kindle, which I haven’t figured out how to share? But I happily recommended it to my mom’s and one friend’s fiction lists.