The myth of Cupid and Psyche is told from the perspective of Psyche's sister Orual. Orual loves her sister as she loves no one else in the world. She helped raise her when Psyche's mother died giving birth to her. Orual despairs when the priest demands Psyche as a sacrifice to please the gods. When she goes to find her bones and bury them, she discovers Psyche alive and well. She is disturbed by Psyche's belief that she is married to a god, although she has never seen him. She forces Psyche to look at her husband and see who he really is. The consequences are dire for both Orual and Psyche. This act pushes them both into new trials that they must both pass if Psyche is to be reunited with her love.
Cupid and Psyche is one of my favorite myths. I fell in love with this retelling by C.S. Lewis. You do not have to be familiar with the original tale to enjoy this version. Lewis gives new depth to the tale by exploring the emotions the short original myth only mentions. The layers in the story allow you to appreciate new depths every time you read it. Love plays a predominant part in this story, but it is not simply romantic love that is explored. Jealousy, love as a weapon, obsessive love, and devoted love all show how love can enrich your life or destroy it.
I was captured by the realness of the characters. The emotions they feel, the struggles they face are very real. I could identify the with the characters, and cared about what would happen to them, even though I knew how they would end up. In knowing these characters we come to know a part of ourselves.
Lewis captures the range of human emotions beautifully. Every time I read this book, I am completely engrossed in it. I think it is my favorite book by C. S. Lewis, and it has a place on My Favorite Books list. If you like exploring favorite tales told in new ways, you should read Til We Have Faces.