March 27, 2013

On the highway to hell: The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Just one of the many amazing quotes from Lewis' book, The Screwtape Letters 

I recently finished reading The Screwtape Letters, a book by C. S. Lewis comprised of humorous letters written by an experienced demon to his nephew – also a demon.

Screwtape, the author of the letters, gives out advice to Wormwood, his nephew, on how to better tempt his "patient", a man recently converted to Christianity.

It’s a very short book, but also very unusual. The way Screwtape talks is the opposite of ours. What he calls "the Enemy" is God and when he says "our father" he means Satan. Through this inverted worldview, the reader gets something like a secret insiders view on the devil's tricks and plans.

What I liked best about the book is how it shows that the devil acts primarily on the human intellect. Less like what we see in horror movies and more like what we see in cartoons.


Be prepared: the book is most times very funny, but it get very scary pretty fast. The fate of the two demons and of the damned souls is horrifying. And with each letter we see a description of the seemingly unimportant, day to day dramas of our very own lives. I doubt anyone can read the letters and not find the situations described in them familiar.

Who knew that the author of the wonderful children's saga, Narnia, would write something this complex, funny, eye opening and easy to read?

I’m off to read the rest of Lewis’ work. Partly because I'm so impressed by his writing and partly because I don’t have the guts to listen to Andy Serkis reading the letters.


Have you read The Screwtape Letters or other books by C. S. Lewis?

Image via The Antelope and still from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove

2 comments:

  1. I really need to read TSL...I have read and loved Lewis's Narnia books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts -- and I cannot IMAGINE listening to Serkis read those letters! *shivers*

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    1. If you liked Narnia, chances are you'll like TSL as well, both have that humorous way to approach serious subjects which is so characteristic of Lewis. (I'm glad I'm not the only one who was creeped out by Serkis interpretation!) xx

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