Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Great Divorce

I recently read The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis, which is a really interesting book. It's about a man who takes a bus tour through the afterlife. He goes from Hell to Purgatory, and he catches a brief glimpse of the Heaven before waking up and discovering it was all a dream.

At first, Hell sounds like a paradise, because people can get whatever they want just by wishing for it, and they don't have any material needs for food, water, clothing or the like. But since people have no need for each other, they all end up fighting and hating each other. They start wishing to be alone and isolated, and the result is that Hell ends up being a big, mostly empty city.

Napoleon is used as an example. He wishes to be a year's distance away from everyone else, because he's tired of being harassed. His grand house is a tiny speck in the distance, and he spends all of his time pacing the living room, blaming other people for what happened. "It was the Russian's fault! It was the English's fault! It was Josephine's fault!" all day long for the rest of the eternity, because he can't let it go.

The majority of the book takes place in Purgatory. Various angels come, to help guide people to Heaven. A lot of the people argue with the angels, and it is fascinating. One woman refuses to go to Heaven, if her husband is there. One man is a scholar who only cares about asking questions, not having them answered. One man is an artist, who cares more about depicting beauty than appreciating beauty. One woman had a baby who died, and she twisted her mother-child love into a sick obsession that ruined her family's life.

I feel like this would be a good response, for all the people who didn't like how Susan was excluded from the final Chronicles of Narnia book. She could easily fit in with all the other characters in this book, as the woman who started ignoring her family and friends, and now the thing she cares about most is how she looks.

Overall, it's a book with a lot of interesting ideas, and it really makes you think. Plus, it's a short read. I'd recommend it.


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