Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Perelandra


We're reading through C.S. Lewis' Perelandra right now. I had assigned this book to my teenagers and discovered quickly that Lewis' writing style was too dense for them. So we switched to me reading it out loud while they draw cartoons. (This method lets me explain some of Lewis' ideas as well.)

Because it had been years since I read Perelandra, I qas reminded quickly of his complex writing style - and of the depth of his story.

Perelandra is science fiction, the story of two British professors who end up on Venus battling for the spiritual foundation of the emerging planet. Lewis has crafted a parallel story to Eve's temptation, where the Lady of Perelandra must decide whether to obey God (called Maleldil on Perelandra) or to take the path of martyrdom, choosing to sacrifice herself for the supposed good of her husband and children.

Of course, the evil tempter twists and weaves stories that sound wonderful while holding an ugly trap.

Our hero, Ransom, first battles verbally and, later, physically trying to maintain the Lady's innocence and God's plan for this new life.

What's fascinated us, as we read, is how Lewis understood so well all the human rationalizations for our decisions. How the tempter tried to deceive the Lady is how we have been deceived many times.

But Lewis always offers a twist, a fresh look at God's work.

My almost 13-year-old son would like to see more action in the story, although he's been riveted lately as Ransom pursues Weston across the floating island and onto the sea. Lewis couldn't resist philosophizing often, but the story is creative and opens the door to some fascinating discussions. It's a must-read.

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