I thought I had read or knew about C.S. Lewis’s works, but The Great Divorce slipped my notice until one of my co workers mentioned it. I’ll be honest and admit that I’ve avoided Lewis’s non-fiction work. Granted, I typically don’t a lot of non-fiction to begin with, but I prefer Lewis’s fictional works. As luck would have it, The Great Divorce is a fictional piece although it reads like non-fiction. This combination makes it an interesting read, nothing like I’ve read before. There was a lot to think about, but because it was short, all of the ideas weren’t overwhelming.
Imagining what it would be like to visit heaven and hell, Lewis gives us a glimpse into heaven as seen by visiting residents of hell. The book opens with a narrator (we’re never given a name) waiting in line at a bus stop for a bus to take the residents of “hell” to visit heaven for the afternoon. The idea is that if the visitors decide to and are prepared to live a life in heaven, they can stay.
Throughout the short novella, there’s several vignette’s of different types of people you and I have met here on Earth. It’s almost a way of showing why some people, who appear “good” may not make it into heaven. Mostly it’s because they’re selfish in different ways. This book functions better as a discussion piece to be read in small segments than it does in one sitting. I’m glad I read it because it gave me a lot to think on. The ending, however, leaves a lot to be desired.