Monday, August 18, 2008


Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 209
Reason for Reading : Inklings Challenge

Put forward as a series of letters from Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. Screwtape is the Under Secretary in Hell working for Our Father Below after being promoted due to never failing to claim his assigned souls. Wormwood is a new graduate from the Tempter's Training College for Young Devil's run by Slubgob and is out on his first assignment. The way thngs are set up in Hell is new graduates are sent after a particular soul, which when it is gained will feed the others. If they fail then they will become the food instead.

Screwtape's letters are full of advice for the young Wormwood on the best ways to tempt his soul. Workig in their favour is a background working with his mother plus the European War which Wormwood is excited about but Screwtape seems nonplussed about. Some of the advice follows getting his patient caught up in "the real world", pleasures of the flesh (and if he stays chaste at least marrying the kind of women they prefer), men's vanity and misusing prayer.

My copy also includes a chilling toast from Screwtape at the end to new graduates from the college. He talks of using Democracy to their advantage but also reminds them to go after one patient rather than just caring about the downfall of society as a whole. He also speaks of the vintages they are dining on and how they compare to past souls he has consumed.

This was a very well written satire with some excellent points. At one point it talks about how the demons control the fashion industry changing what look and body type are in. The aim is to keep in vogue unreasonable body images that no one can live up to but that men desire which is especially relevant today. They also talk about ministers and priests who can be used to sway belief their way due to their own fanatacisms. Interestingly it was addressed to his college friend JRR Tolkien.

5 comments:

mariel said...

I LOVE the cover! Curious..

Kim L said...

I've picked this one up once or twice but demons are one thing that creep me out unbelievably. I watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose once. It took me forever to get over that one!

Petunia said...

It's been a little while since I read it but I do remember that it wasn't scary so much as thought provoking. Lewis' imaginative works are just wonderful.

Kailana said...

I have only ever read the Chronicles by him. One of these days I really should look into his other stuff.

Alice Teh said...

Now I'll have to read this one, Rhinoa. Time to dish it out from the TBR pile...