LETTERS TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER by

LETTERS TO MALCOLM: CHIEFLY ON PRAYER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

During WWII C.S. Lewis published his highly popular Screwtape Letters; these epistles, though excursions into the dark night of the soul (with lighting courtesy of the Church of England), were not sombre at all- they were, in fact, sensible and urbane. Reflecting the spiritual unrest and urgency of the times, they were both a product of those times and an anodyne for them; wit very close to the wise-crack was always around, as in Lewis' definition of hell: a well-functioning bureaucracy. The new collection, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, is rather different: it is as homey and honest as its title, and seems to be addressed not to an imaginary personage (Screwtape's recipient was called Wormwood), and the troubles of the everyday, or of a Christian in an unchristian world are aired. Thus there is a good deal of devotional scribbling on points which to some may seem pointless, e.g. whether it is better to pray with words or without, to pray kneeling, standing or walking; whether there should be less liturgy or more; whether God is a "bright blur" or anthropomorphically bearded; what doctrines have become outgrown or ingrown, etc. But Lewis is a learned man and a wise one: amidst the commonplace concerns one finds uncommon insights ("I fancy the 'beauties of nature' are a secret God has shared with us alone. That may be one of the reasons why we were made- and why the resurrection of the body is an important doctrine").
Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1964
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1963