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A Grief Observed Paperback – April 21, 2015
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C.S. Lewis joined the human race when his wife, Joy Gresham, died of cancer. Lewis, the Oxford don whose Christian apologetics make it seem like he's got an answer for everything, experienced crushing doubt for the first time after his wife's tragic death. A Grief Observed contains his epigrammatic reflections on that period: "Your bid--for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity--will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high," Lewis writes. "Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." This is the book that inspired the film Shadowlands, but it is more wrenching, more revelatory, and more real than the movie. It is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
"I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiratation."-- John Updike"A very personal, anguished, luminous little book about the meaning of death, marriage, and religion."-- "Publishers Weekly
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If you are grieving an enormous loss, you may find comfort here. I can't explain why, as C.S. Lewis did not include words of comfort. I have found absolutely no comfort in anything else I have read - with titles like Roses in December and so on. They tend to be written after the author had worked through the grief and can speak of it with the clarity of hindsight that the experience taught them. Well, when you are in the depths of sorrow, nothing makes any sense. Everything you believed has been knocked over. And that is exactly what C.S. Lewis describes in his own grief. It is profound. If you have not suffered a devastating loss, this book might not communicate well to you. But if you have, you will find a great mind and wonderful writer who understands your grief well enough to put words to it.
This book is not for the faint of heart. It should probably come with a warning label! Seriously, nothing could have prepared me for such a searing flood of emotion. Being a normal American male, listening to country-western songs is about as close as I usually get to experiencing my feelings. Trust me, if a sad country song is a raindrop, "A Grief Observed" is a deluge.
As happened to my friend, C. S. Lewis found great love in his fifties only to lose her to bone cancer. It's up for grabs whether bone cancer or Lou Gehrig's disease is the greater blight on mankind, but both are devastating to the victims and their loved ones. Being such a devout Christian, Lewis apparently felt he had a handle on it, which ironically made him even less prepared. In any case, after she died he wrote this incredible book. It's as close as one person can get to a glimpse of another person's soul.
I have since given this book to others that have suffered losses. I do think that it would not resonate that well with someone that was not in that awful place of grieving for a loved one. Without that pall, I think the reader may fail to grasp what Lewis is telling us.
Fair warning. This is not "easy" reading, but it can be an important help.
Amazing how in tune with his loss is to my own. I was amazed how better I felt as I shared his pain and new I was not alone. If a man who has lost your wife , special love, do yourself a favor and read C.S. Lewis "A Grief Observed". Once read, you will understand and find comfort. I did.