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It is amazing that such a short work of fiction such as "The Great Divorce" can offer such tremendous insights into not only human nature, but also the question of "How can a loving God allow the existence of hell".
I was absolutely blown away by this book when I was in my late teens/early twenties and now over twenty years later, it remains my favorite among Lewis' works of fiction and still ranks as one of the best 10 books I've ever read.
Lewis' portrayal of hell is extremely fascinating, and in many ways unique, but the strength of the book, in my opinion, is the interaction between the ghosts (redeemed saints) and their former acquaintances from their days of life on earth.
The three that stick most in my mind are the interactions of a murder victim with his murderer (with their present residences a reverse of what you would think), the discussion between two theologians who have come to very different perspectives, and a conversation with a mother who wrestles with forgiving God for the death of her young child.
Besides being Lewis' best work of fiction, I also believe TGD is one of his most accessible among his works of fiction intended for adults.
I cannot recommend "The Great Divorce" highly enough. While having "The Abolition of Man" is a great bonus, TGD is worth the price in and of itself.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful
"The Great Divorce" is an unfortunate title for our modern ears. It is a Dante-esque fantasy about a man's journey to Purgatory and/or Hell and then to the beginnings of Heaven. The title comes as a counter to the mistaken assertion that there is a possiblity of the marriage of Heaven and Hell. The narrator meets with several types of sinner and witnesses their encounters with angelic beings who give them every chance and encouragement to enter into heaven. Lewis (who is the narrator it would seem) meets up with his spiritual mentor (George MacDonald) and converses with him. How many of us hope that when our turn comes, C.S. Lewis will be there waiting for us?
"The Abolition of Man" is a short, pithy, brilliant work, originally lectures, on the natural law and its necessity for good living. It is a pleasure to read/hear such solid, jargon-free prose expressing clearly and without dumbing-down such important ideas.
Robert Whitfield, as usual, reads with clarity and elegance.
45 of 47 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce again? Why?
Possibly.. it took me quite a while to get into the main Audiobook called "The Great Divorce", which is an allegory about the ghosts of people who had died, and who had to decide whether they were willing to let go of bitterness, hatred. resentment, unwillingness to believe in the possibility of there being a much better life-after-death with a Creator God who loved us them and cares very deeply for them. Or whether they thought it was all a load of rubbish, and that they will carry on living the type of existence they lived before they died, just doing their own thing, hurting other people and basically doing whatever they felt made "Me" happy. Hence "The Great Divorce" between those who believed in a much better After Life with a Creator God that deeply loves them and desires an intimate relationship with them AND THOSE who believe that once they died NOTHING exciting happened and they're no better off or worse off before they died."The Abolition of Man" is a long lecture that basically believes that we need to be at peace with nature and not try to damage or deface it, that there's a General & Spiritual Law in operation that governs the whole universe, and us trying to go against it or defacing nature WILL ONLY IN THE END RESULT in "The Abolition of Man [i.e. Human Beings], as we do NEED NATURE (I.e. Trees, Animals, Flowers, Bees etc ) as much as it needs us AND we are all interdependent on one another - A VERY HEAVY GOING DISCOURSE!!
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Abolition of Man & The Great Divorce?
In "The Abolition of Man", I was very pleasantly surprised when I realised that all the people that tried to board a bus and also those who boarded it were the ghosts of people who had died (although a number of them were unaware they were dead until much later!)
Which scene did you most enjoy?
"The Great Divorce": The scene where a ghost was in the Halfway Place to Paradise, was unwilling to let go of his pet sins and habits, did NOT want to go up to Paradise BUT was determined to pick and take back down to his Grey World [in this allegory, HELL was a mindset that people had imprisoned themselves in and could not and would not get out of it because they'd got used to it and it gave them FAISE SECURITY that all was well] a delicious fruit from the Halfway World, even if it killed him in the process. [though theoretically he could not die, but would ONLY puff and strain trying to get the delicious fruit to his world!].
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
"The Great Divorce" - I was quite moved by the scene of an unknown lady from the other world (i.e. a lady who had died and was not a particular famous or outstanding personality in any way in our world)) known as Sarah Smith who had lived in Golders Green and was NOW IN THE HALFWAY PLACE, where she was an extremely radiant, BEAUTIFUL LADY & ROYALTY, who was being attended by a wonderful array of talking birds, animals and trees going before and after her, singing about her and HOW SHE HAD OVERCOME GREAT ADVERSITY AND ILLNESSES AND HEARTACHES and could no longer be touched by such things as illnesses & sorrow even IF THEY WANTED TO. because she KNEW SHE BELONGED TO The Creator God WHO loved her so much, cared for her so much, forgave all her "past sins" and misdeavours and SET HER FREE TO TRULY LIVE.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Even though its a short listening period, its quiet thought-provoking. Definitely took my time so i could digest this. Such a great book!
Love CS Lewis. He writes cogently and Mr Vance narrated with understanding & feeling. Great!