A lot has been written about the ongoing conflict between God and the Devil, and the efforts of both sides to secure human souls; most of the literature takes the Christian viewpoint. However, in this book, author C.S. Lewis presents his vision of how the struggle might look from the other side...
The Screwtape Letters takes the form of a series of instructional epistles, written to trainee demon Wormwood by his uncle Screwtape, who holds a senior position in the Infernal Bureaucracy. The letters give the reader an ongoing insight into Wormwood's progress, or lack thereof, in his efforts to secure the damnation of his unnamed human 'Patient', who, rather worryingly, seems inclined towards the ideas of 'The Enemy'. Screwtape, of course, is eager to prevent the human's loss, and secure him for Hell instead, and the letters contain reams of valuable advice on how to ensure that the Patient reaches the demonic realm at the end of his life.
The sequel, Screwtape Proposes a Toast, is not an entire second book, but a shorter essay, which is included at the end of some editions of the Letters.
One of C.S. Lewis's most brilliant fictional works, possibly even better than his more well-known creation, Narnia. Insightful, funny, and despite the demons and the second world war setting, even uplifting.
- The Colclough 17:22, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
One of the best books I have read for some time! Insightful, and very realistic, I thought it was just about the most thought-provoking book I have read. Highly, highly recommended.
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- Reading Age: 13+
- Reading Aloud Age: 13+
The entire book is written from a demon's viewpoint, referring to God as 'The Enemy', and speaking of the damnation of humans' souls in a positive light. Although this is clearly just a literary device, and the audience are not meant to empathise with these views, it would not be advisable to give this book to young children.
The letters also contain frequent references to, and some description of, the Second World War, and the human character who is the focus of the demons' efforts, dies in an air raid at the end of the book. A redemptive ending is supplied, but the death may still be upsetting for young readers.
If you like this you might like
- The Chronicles of Narnia by the same author
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The Screwtape Letters.