Having been a long time fan of C.S. Lewis, it occurred to me at some point that it would be interesting to try some authors that he read, and who influenced his way of thinking. In his autobiography SURPRISED BY JOY, I think, he mentions some of them: George MacDonald, GK Chesterton and others, and in other places he speaks highly of the novels by fellow Inkling Charles Williams.
I have yet to dive into MacDonald, whose PHANTASTES Lewis says changed his way of thinking in dramatic ways. Chesterton is wonderful, though challenging. ORTHODOXY is worth coming back to again and again...you'd think he's writing in the early part of the 21st century, not the 1910's and 20's. Where I really need help is with Charles Williams.
Reading and hearing so many good things about Williams novels, I've tried three: ALL HALLOW'S EVE, THE PLACE OF THE LION, AND DESCENT INTO HELL. I must admit I don't really get them. There are some intriguing ideas and plot lines that keep you going, but mostly I feel like I haven't broken the code, or maybe he's just over my head.
I just finished DESCENT INTO HELL and would love to hear what other readers think of it. Stanhope's taking on the suffering and anxiety of another character expands the idea of "bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ" and that theme I could follow, but little else, to be truthful. Somebody enlighten me!