I just finished reading again Until We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis. I read this book quite a few years ago. At that time I felt it was a dark story, and if it had “something to be learned from” as do most of his writings, even his children’s Narnia stories, I had no comprehension as to what that might be. After gnawing on what a possible meaning might be for a few weeks, I gave it up and went on with my life.
Twenty some years later reading Until We Have Faces again, I found the “something to be learned from” the book was very powerful, which put my heart into repentant tears. At this reading I related very closely to Orual and her life. I don’t believe I am the only person who would, otherwise C. S. Lewis would not have written this strong character and her redemption story.
The ugliness and rejections Orual felt could be the human condition many women (or perhaps even a man) may feel much of our lives. The ugliness may be as much or even more the idea that we (me) are clearly inadequate, a disappointment to people we care about, are therefore unloveable and thus unloved. Only at the end of her life did Orual realize that the mask over her face to hide her ugliness was one over her heart so that she could not love those who loved her. Instead she caused them harm because she did not or could not see them through her veil.
I find it interesting how much more powerful a story is than for someone to use the words to describe such a situation. It is easier to relate to a person, real or fiction, more than to relate to ideas no matter how brilliant they are.
This is a powerful story and I highly recommend the book.