Monday, January 14, 2013
I have an inkling that C.S. Lewis could have (should have) given his readers much more in The Screwtape letters where Screwtape, a senior demon, writes to his underling about undermining the Christianity of his "patient" on earth. I was disappointed to find that only the letters of Screwtape are included. There are no letters from the underling demon or narrative regarding the moves of the Christian patient. Rarely does the reader know what the patient is doing on earth. The Christian is, after all, the unseen, unknown protagonist of the novel. What work of fiction stands on solid legs under that guise?
Still, the premise of the The Screwtape Letters is imaginatively presented and unique in the literature on which I always place a premium. The voice of Screwtape is less evil than calculating and that is likely a realistic portrayal of the demon. In the end, the novel left me wanting more; not more of Screwtape but of the junior demon and his Christian patient. For these reasons I was left feeling that I received only half a novel, or just a third. It had so much potential.