Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Book Review: Beyond the Shadowlands

Although I have read a number of books by C. S. Lewis over the years, Beyond the Shadowlands by Wayne Martindale is the first book I have read about C. S. Lewis. It turned out to be a great read.

Dr. Martindale is a Lewis scholar and regularly teaches on Lewis at Wheaton College. In addition, he has contributed to other books on Lewis so he's an excellent authority on Lewis' writings.

The mission of Beyond the Shadowlands is twofold. First, Dr. Martindale uses Lewis' writings to debunk commonly held myths about Heaven and Hell (including some of the tougher theological questions such as why a good God would send people to Hell) and then uses Lewis' fiction to remythologize Heaven and Hell. In other words, Lewis wanted to build a sense of wonder and excitement about Heaven through his writings.

Although I was familiar with Lewis' more obvious discussions of Heaven and Hell (The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters) and could see some illusions to Heaven and Hell in The Chronicles of Narnia, I did not realize until reading this book the extent to which Lewis dealt with these issues throughout all his fiction.

Beyond the Shadowlands is a fascinating read on its own. But it's also a wonderful companion volume to Lewis' fiction, particularly his lesser known novels. If you enjoy C. S. Lewis, you will enjoy this book.

Beyond the Shadowlands was provided to Mind and Media through a generous gift from Crossway Publishers. No consideration was received for this review apart from the book.

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