C.S. Lewis has always been one of my two favorite authors. "The Great Divorce" details a dream in which C.S. Lewis is ushered through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven and paints some incredibly imaginative images of what all three are like.
I think Lewis is—like the Bible—one of the most quoted, most revered, yet least read (and understood) sources of spirituality in the Christian world. When I say ‘least-read’, I understand that almost everybody has read “Mere Christianity” and the Narnian Chronicles and maybe ‘Screwtape Letters’, but there is such an untapped wealth within his collection of writings that most don’t dive into. And there is a wealth behind the surface of most of his stuff. He was not a ‘cute’ and ‘comfortable’ Christian writer spouting out consolatory life principles. He wasn’t a teddy bear. His life was viciously consecrated and his cheerful joy stemmed from a well of deep, serious devotion to Christ. A lot of people claim him as their favorite author without going into the depths of what he was always saying—namely that the life of Christ is not neat, not pithy, not a novelty. It is intensely devotional; you either dive into the full Christ or you lounge outside of him. There is no in-between.
This type of seriousness is seen in some of the characters in this book. For instance, a man plagued by a lizard on his shoulder--which represents sin or any vice--is confronted by an angel. The angel offers to remove the lizard for him, but to do that he must kill it--and it will hurt. The man eventually relents and allows the angel to destory the lizard, once and for all.
It is this type of Christianity that Lewis paints; true conversion and formation isn't neccessarily pleasant, and is sometimes contrary to our surface desires. But it always freeings and always worth it.
Lewis continues to sanctify my imagination, and this book is a huge reason why. The story is as engaging as any novel, and Lewis' pen works magic throughout the book.
You can purchase this book here.