My local book group is currently reading C.S. Lewis’ space trilogy, and last week I hosted our discussion of Perelandra, the second book in the series. I read the trilogy fifteen-or-so years ago, but I’d forgotten enough that I looked forward to approaching the books again with fresh eyes.
In fact, my memory of Perelandra called up a rather odd assortment of details. I knew (as the back cover copy states) that it was “a sharp, sophisticated fantasy dealing with an old problem--temptation--in a new world.” I remembered that the story was set on Venus (Perelandra) during Lewis’ contemporary time (he’s actually a character in the story), and that the main character, Ransom, was transported to Perelandra by angelic beings he encountered on Mars (Malacandra) in the first book.
I remembered random facts--the Woman’s nickname for Ransom and why she gave it, Dr. Weston’s cruel and senseless mutilation of the frogs, and the wound Ransom receives. Beyond that, most of the specifics had been buried under other information in the disorganized, overstuffed file cabinet of my brain.
As I plunged in this time around, I fully expected a good read (I mean, hello, it’s C.S. Lewis), but I was in no way prepared for what happened. Perelandra turned my life upside down.