The Great Divorce
Not your ordinary fantasy thriller
An absolutely ingenious attempt of pitting a concept as difficult and seemingly abstract--eternity--into a tangible analogy, a dreamlike journey to the confines of the end of one's life and the beginning of the afterlife. "The Great Divorce" is
An absolutely ingenious attempt of pitting a concept as difficult and seemingly abstract--eternity--into a tangible analogy, a dreamlike journey to the confines of the end of one's life and the beginning of the afterlife. "The Great Divorce" is quite complex, as it weaves fantasy in with hard theology. There seem to be countless interconnections behind Lewis' words, very much like a root system; and all, however seemingly detached, are actually connected to each other and equally significant. Unfortunately, I doubt that one could disentangle the mass with one quick read.
The title is derived from an attempt to place Earth on the celestial balance betwixt Heaven and Hell, and argues that to a certain extent, our conception of both post-mortem destinations are not completely ethereal; that is, we have been granted bits and pieces of what is to come in our day-to-day lives on Earth. (Take, for example, the dreary Grey City, an admittedly innocuous but clear allegory to a human hell, and compare it to the destination of the passengers on the bus, the Eternal Realm.) Much like our human nature, many travelers in the book abuse their privileged position and determine that the "heaven" was actually their image of hell. Ultimately, we must make a conscious choice. Coexistence between the two, a bipartisan relationship, is an impossibility.
This Lewis manages to mesh with the never-ending complexities of pre-destination. And then there's the future, both fully constant and inconstant. The commitment as to where one spends his or her eternity can be decided at any instant with the individual's free will. It's not raw Calvinism, nor does it promote human depravity; here it exists on both, like the intersection of a graph where both coordinates meet. As grave as that initially sounds, C.S. Lewis gives up a brilliant example in the book, explaining that good can come out of evil, but attempting the reverse would prove to be impossible.
There's always a line or a chapter in a book that stands out, and for me, it was the dialogue between the Spirit and the Ghost with a red dragon. It was one of the strongest arguments toward the possibility of redemptive restoration that I have read, in fiction. I really believe that those pages of the book are relevant to everyone.