Tori's Reviews > Perelandra

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
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's review
Oct 12, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: for-genj-book-club, fantasy
Read in January, 2010

Written for book club:
Anticlimactic. Dull, flat characters. Lengthy undescriptive descriptions. These are all things that come to mind when I think of C.S. Lewis' Perelandra.
At first the book had some promise. As the second novel in Lewis' space trilogy, I thought that it would be similar to what the first book, Out of the Silent Planet, was. Granted, the first book was mediocre, but it was interesting. When I started to read Perelandra, it looked like it might have been even better then the first one. Unfortunately, after a few chapters, I realized that it wasn't better--it was worse.
For starters, the plot was weak. When the story begins Ransom is sent to Venus or as it is called in the book, Perelandra. He doesn't know the purpose of his visit, but he knows that he is there to do something. It turns out that that something is defeating the now demon possessed antagonist from Out of the Silent Planet.
However, before any action or plot is introduced, Ransom explores the planet. This takes several chapters which in the end can be summed up thusly: there is stationary land, floating islands, and an ocean. All of this is told to the reader through lengthy, uninteresting descriptions. The author's use of phrases such as "He could never tell us... whether it was sharp or sweet, savory or voluptuous, creamy or piercing" had no meaning and were redundant. They told the reader absolutely nothing. One or maybe even two of such descriptions would have been acceptable, but the book was filled with them. Lewis's job as an author is to paint a picture for his readers. Instead he showed things that were to broad to be of any use.
The characters in the book were one-dimensional. Besides Ransom, who is busily looking at the world around him like a poet, there is a woman and the demon possessed Weston. Ransom had no growth through the book. The woman was sinless with the thought processes of a child. Because she lacked depth or anything the reader could relate to, she was uninteresting. Weston came over as more of a nuisance then a dangerous villain.
The climax came nearer to the center of the novel than the end. This makes the reader lose interest since the highlight of the book is shown too quickly. If that wasn't bad enough, the climax was very unclimatic . It rose slowly to it's apex, and then just as slowly, it dwindled away. It lacked enthusiasm. The reader finds that they are filled with a mild curiosity about what might happen next, but not an intense longing to see what is about to take place.
After that, and before the "climax" for that matter, the book was filled with lengthy theological discussions, half of which were irrelevant. To top that off, some of the points that are made have no Biblical grounds. They were merely the opinions of the author.
Perelandra, all in all, was a major writing disaster. I will never read this book again, nor would I suggest anyone else read it either.
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