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Lament for a Son Paperback – July, 1987

4.8 out of 5 stars 135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Wolterstorff, a well-known Christian philosopher, lost his 25-year-old son to a mountain climbing accident. His reflections in the wake of that tragedy are at times deeply personal, but always he expresses a prayerful anguish with which most bereaved parents will identify. Above all he refuses to turn from the "demonic awfulness" of death and, as he moves faithfully through grief, discovers new meaning in the Beatitudes, together with a new understanding of a suffering God. Spiritually enriching and theologically substantive. EC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Nicholas Wolterstorff is Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology at Yale University and Senior Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia. He is the author of several publications, including Divine Discourse (Cambridge University Press, 1995), John Locke and the Ethics of Belief (Cambridge University Press, 1996), Practices of Belief, Volumes 1 and 2 (edited with Terence Cuneo, Cambridge University Press, 2010) and Justice: Rights and Wrongs (2010).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Pub Co; 1 edition (July 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080280294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802802941
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
the impact that this book has had on me. I was 25 years old this past June 16(2000), when my wife Jennifer left this life. We had just had our first child, born April 21, 8 weeks to the day that Jennifer died. Since then, I have found comfort in a few works, such as C.S. Lewis' A GRIEF OBSERVED, but no work, not one, has impacted me like this one. Many's the time I have called my folks and quoted Mr. Wolterstorff saying "See, this is what I've been trying to say!"
This work is a must have for those who've lost. The pain of loss is inexpressable, it is all-encompassing and it is unavoidable. Wolterstorff presents grief in all of its detail, and if you've lost you'll find yourself more and more amazed as you find your thoughts and emotions expressed through his words.
I also believe that this work is indispensable for those in the care of souls. Through Wolterstorff's expression of grief you will find a taste of what that person to whom you minister feels, the loneliness, the despair, and the disappointment in the God whom they trust. If you are in ministry, you MUST get this book.
God's blessings and comfort to you all in your struggle.
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Format: Paperback
Wolterstorff has written a brief, yet poingnantly reflective book on his journey through the valley of grief. He lost his 25 year-old son to a tragic mountain climbing accident, and wrote this book as he writes in the preface "to give voice to [his] grief." He continues "Though it is intensely personal, I have decided now to publish it, in the hope that it will be of help to some of those who find themselves with us in the company of mourners."
This book is powerfully moving and brought tears to my eyes when I first read it. Wolterstorff voices many of the often unspoken feelings that mourners go through- from intense sadness to anger, to questioning, to longing for the loved one whom has died.
His reflections are powerful yet concise, and he has written the book in the style of a journal- documenting his struggle to grieve and cope with the intense anger and sadness of losing his son. Ultimately he finds his faith to be his greatest source of comfort and strength, but not before a long journey through the dark wilderness of grief.
I have also found this book to be extremely comforting and helpful- both in coping with my personal losses, as well as for bereaved family members in the grief support group that I facilitate. This book should be required reading for ANYONE who has lost a loved one, or works with the bereaved or is close to someone who has lost a loved one. I highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Like most of the reviewers here, I'm a member of that exclusive club who lost a child. I was given partial solace by leaders of the local chapter of Compassionate Friends which specializes in grief counselling. All the leaders and participants have paid a huge price to join, but nothing monetary. The glue holding it together is the loss of a child.

This author must have received comfort in writing while passing the time...time in the short term is your enemy. When enough time passes, the pain eases, although it never goes away. In the early months it's hard to concentrate because the grief keeps popping up without permission. I took solace in learning a few pieces on the piano which were way over my head, and doing an extensive photograph editing project about my lost child - a way for me to spend months making the time pass. Our author grieved by writing down his thoughts. My wife read lots of books on grief, but most of them were not my cup of tea. I found an isolated book or passage now and then which connected with me, and I actively looked for them. The usual grief counsellor doesn't have a clue, not from lack of sympathy or effort.

It's been 8 years now since my loss, so I'm not needy for solace, but I'm always ready to hear another man's story...and what a story this is. This book is a day by day pouring out of expressions of grief done in an effort to heal that which can never be entirely healed. I count it amongst those few books that would have been of benefit to me in the first year of my loss. My sympathies go to the author and his family, and my sincere appreciation goes to him for the sharing of his story.
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Format: Paperback
I lost my 26 year old son in April of 1999. I have read many grief books, but this one struck home in the author's poignantly honest expression of his grief and confusion. He holds out hope but gives full recognition to the pain, the regret, the deep agony that shakes our very souls when we experience this most terrible of losses. I keep my copy on my bedside table and return to it over and over, especially certain pages which I have marked as particularly meaningful to me.
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By A Customer on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was the single most important book I read after my son was killed in an accident with me.
Mr. Wolterstorff, in all of his suffering and doubt, allowed God's Grace to work with in his words.
In the five years since Michael died, we have purchased over 25 copies and given them to people who have suffered losses. His essays have been a source of inspiration in our Christmas Newletters and Homilys by Pastors.
The book that shows you the Grace in Suffering.
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