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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.
Perhaps you need to have a brief and intensly happy marriage that is cut short to appreciate it as I did; perhaps greif in some ways is just universal. Although I am a C.S. Lewis fan, I am not sure I could have really appreciated this work had it not been for my own husband's death. For me, it answered many things and lessened some of my own guilt.