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A Grief Observed Paperback – April 21, 2015
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A classic work on grief, A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis’s honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. Written after his wife’s tragic death as a way of surviving the “mad midnight moments,” A Grief Observed an unflinchingly truthful account of how loss can lead even a stalwart believer to lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and the inspirational tale of how he can possibly regain his bearings.
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Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moments," A Grief Observed is C. S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections of that period: "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 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.
- Publisher : HarperOne; 1st edition (April 21, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 76 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060652381
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060652388
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 3.28 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.25 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over the years, I have enjoyed many of Lewis' books. However, this one has always slipped through the cracks. Today, that oversight was corrected.
Unlike any of his other works which I have read, this one is a journal. A very special journal. Within these pages are Lewis' daily thoughts as he faced the grief of losing his beloved wife to cancer. Moment by moment, the reader is invited into an inner world which few of us discuss honestly. The world of deep heartbreak.
There is no point in mincing words, reading Lewis' journey of grief is painful. Although the pages are few, I found myself shedding tears more often than any other book I have read excluding the Bible. With brutal honesty, Lewis shares the fear, confusion, pain, anger, and doubt he endured in his grief. Then, into that gloom the light begins to slowly shine again. He concludes with some of the most poignant words on faith, love, and hope which I have ever read as he begins to heal.
So far, this is the best book on grief which I have read. Admittedly, I have never lost a spouse. So I doubt that I can truly comprehend the depths of Lewis' pain. However, his words were a blessing to me in my own smaller griefs. I am thankful for this little book. If you have experienced loss or trauma, then I believe that this book could be a blessing to you.
“Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.”
A GRIEF OBSERVED
THIS. In fact, if you haven’t experienced a loss, still read this book. I could write so many things now to NOT say to people when going through their grief….sorry I am still weaving in and out of the angry stage. But in all seriousness, never say “this is all a part of God’s plan.” Never, ever, EVER. This is like tearing open a wound in someone’s heart. It creates even more anger than before. It is not helpful or comforting. Don’t try to point out the “positives.” I will never see my dad again on this Earth. I have to go the rest of my life without another hug or him calling me, “Joop” because his answering machine couldn’t pronounce my last name. I will never see play with my sons or nephews again and the hole that is in my heart will never close.
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing. At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me.”
I never contemplated a life without my dad. I am still in denial. He could walk in the door any minute. I still feel alone even though I am surrounded by an amazing support system. How did I get blessed with the most amazing family? My sisters, my mom, and I are already close but now we cling to each other and we have all been there for each other.
I am a fixer. I hate when those I love around me are hurting. I am trying to be a better listener because I am not the only one grieving. There is no fixing loss. The hurt and pain will hit in waves but it will never actually cease. As I said above, I hope this can help someone else. There are moments where I feel like I am drowning. But reading these words validated my feelings. They helped and could help you.
Top reviews from other countries
Well-meaning people feel that they need to say something in sympathy but don’t know what to say and are unable to admit it.
This book hit the spot for me and I truly believe that my Heavenly Father directed me to it.
Here was a man, C.S. Lewis who really did know how I felt because he had actually been there.
My personal pain remains but God used this book to remind me that I was not alone, that my Heavenly Father held me still in his hands and used another man’s experience as that reminder.
At the time I really couldn't see my way out of almost stifling grief - but she gave me a copy of this book and suggested I read it - and pop a yellow sticky in the pages that most resonated with me.
A month or so on she suggested I re-read it and do the yellow sticky thing again - and already I could see I was moving on - if only through the stages of grief at that time. I hadn't believed it possible.
Several readings later - loads more yellow stickies - and months passed - and I finally understood what she'd been hoping for.
As hard as it seems - and as hard as it is to see - we do all move from where we started.
I found some of the book - especially the more religious bits hard going - and skipped over them - whilst appreciating even at the time that they might bring some comfort to others.
CS Lewis - wrote this book after the death of his love - portrayed in the film 'Shadowlands' - and despite being a rather restrained individual and theology boffin - went on to care for her son and from there we get the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series - which made many kids like me really enjoy books.
I still have that original copy with all of the yellow stickies - and treasure it always as it tells my journey back to the land of the living far better than I could!
I've also bought copies for and passed on the yellow sticky advice on a very few appropriate occasions in the last 18 years. It has always helped.
A truly great book - inspirational and untold help.
If you ever find yourself in need of such a prop - well worth buying - and whilst the paper version and the yellow stickies - tried and tested - bookmarks or notes on kindle probably do the same thing.
I've just looked it out again on the recent death of a close friend's husband - and will be passing on a copy again.