Some of my favorite books are fiction books about writers and books. Heads You Lose, by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward is a detective story written by two authors, each taking a chapter. In one chapter Lisa killed off a character she didn’t like, then next chapter David had him revived in the hospital, so in the next chapter Lisa killed him again and wrote “now he is really really dead.” Lisa Lutz’s other books are great. Canapes for the Kitties by Marian Babson is a mystery in a small village with a number of mystery writers – the end is great so won’t spoil it for you. I also love Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series of books that take place in a world where books and reading is common, and also where characters in a book can cross the line into the ‘real’ world and vice versa. You do need an imagination to read Jasper Fforde’s books. And if you want to experience a unique website go to http://www.jasperfforde.com.
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.