Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Screwtape Letters

There are several stories I enjoy revisiting from time to time because, no matter how old they are or how many times I’ve read them or seen them acted out, they never fail to resonate with my spiritual self. The Christmas classics How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life are three of the best. I know them well. I could practically quote them, but they somehow always manage to work their way past the hardness of my heart to remind me what’s true and what’s important about this life. They aren’t technically Christian, but they do say a lot about the importance of love and grace and relationships rather than material successes, which is quite Christian indeed.

Another story at the top of my list is C. S. Lewis’s immortal The Screwtape Letters. Previously, I have listened to the audio version as narrated by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. He is a delicious reader and gives his Screwtape the ideal touch of bureaucratic sadism that makes the character come alive. But just recently I became aware of this audio-dramatization by Focus on the Family:

“From the award-winning audio drama team that brought you Radio Theatre’s Amazing Grace and The Chronicles of Narnia. In his enduringly popular masterpiece The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis re-imagines Hell as a gruesome bureaucracy. With spiritual insight and wry wit, Lewis suggests that demons, laboring in a vast enterprise, have horribly recognizable human attributes: competition, greed, and totalitarian punishment. Avoiding their own painful torture as well as a desire to dominate are what drive demons to torment their “patients.”
The style and unique dark humor of The Screwtape Letters are retained in this full-cast dramatization, as is the original setting of London during World War II. The story is carried by the senior demon Screwtape played magnificently by award-winning actor Andy Serkis (“Gollum” in Lord of the Rings) as he shares correspondence to his apprentice demon Wormwood. All 31 letters lead into dramatic scenes, set in either Hell or the real world with humans―aka “the patient,” as the demons say―along with his circle of friends and family.”

Andy Serkis aka Screwtape

I’ve only had time to listen to two of the four discs, but I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. Not only is it full of dry and dark humor, the acting/reading from Screwtape down to the minor players is excellent. Serkis is clearly enjoying the part, and that makes it a treat to listen to. And, as always, I always find things in this epistolary novel that make me consider my own life and how I live it in light of God’s eternity.

Highly recommended.

Have you read or listened to The Screwtape Letters? What is your favorite of Lewis’s works? Why?


  1. I loved that book! Had no idea it had been made into an audio drama. Thanks for sharing!

  2. It's greatness. I think you'd love John Cleese's version, too, though it's a straight reading of the letters. Both excellent. :D

  3. I recently listened to this version. It was great. Andy Serkis has a great voice and really bought the story to life.

    Of course, I've read the book too. Only just saw the dedication yesterday 'To J.R.R Tolkien'. Fitting I think.

    1. It's very interesting to read about the two of them, Lewis and Tolkien. Definitely iron sharpening iron.

  4. I've looked for this in the past on audio, but you've definitely encouraged me to try again!

    Thanks DeAnna!

    1. They're not easy to find, but they're out there. I think you'd enjoy it. :)

    2. We found it on Youtube, and then Amazon Music


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