Perelandra - C.S. Lewis (A Space Trilogy, Book 2) - Review
Second of three books in the series A Space Trilogy:
What do you think would have happened had Eve not eaten the fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge? What if an advocate had dropped from the sky to help her resist temptation, an unlikely champion willing (however reluctantly) to do battle with the serpent?
Reluctant isn't right, as Ransom (the main character) has such a strong sense of duty that personal choice isn't really even existent in this case. Ah, well, I don't want to give too much away. It is sufficient to say that you'll spend a bit of time in deeply detailed philosophical discussion regarding themes from Adam and Eve in Perelandra, the second book in the Space Trilogy series.
What really struck me about this story was the literary capabilities of Lewis. I don't think anyone could be anything short of astounded at his eloquence during the epic war of words between Ransom and the 'un-man', it is truly a classic sequence. You can't walk away from it without an appreciation (and more than a little despair) about the raw relentlessness of evil, along with some small amount of hope and perspective about the role that an everyday person may have in the shaping of the future.
Too small, perhaps, for me probably less than the author intended (although I have no way of really knowing that). The part that bothered me was that Lewis was so much more persuasive from the perspective of evil, it was a bit disheartening. Then I think he tarnishes it a bit when he has Ransom wonder, 'Hey, what would happen if I just try to kill it?' It was almost like he couldn't win the argument with himself, that good was not strong enough to triumph over evil from a strictly philosophical point of view. It seemed that it left him no other choice than to resort to physical violence, which I thought was a bit sad. It makes me wonder if this may be a reflection of what he saw Hitler doing in Europe and England at the time.
Still, it's a great story that really makes you think, as great stories tend to. It also gives you some insight into Lewis' mindset during WWII in England, and it's easy to see the war's influence in this book.
Description from Amazon:
Los Angeles Times -- Lewis, perhaps more than any other twentieth-century writer, forced those who listened to him and read his works to come to terms with their own philosophical presuppositions...
The New Yorker -- If wit and wisdom, style and scholarship are requisites to passage through the pearly gates, Mr. Lewis will be among the angels...
You can find the entire series at Amazon:
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, Book One)
Perelandra (Space Trilogy, Book Two)
That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book Three)