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Wednesday, 6 December 2006

A Grief Observed by: C.S. Lewis

A Grief Observed
C.S. Lewis

Various Editions

ISBN Numerous

This is another amazing book by Lewis, and another that I have read multiple times. I have had to read it for at least three university courses over the last 18 years. This book is unlike anything else that Lewis ever wrote. It is raw, visceral and at times disturbing, unlike most of his other work that is very precise, specific, well argued and clearly laid out.

Recently I heard this story: 'Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson recently released a book about Lewis called Jack's Life. It includes a DVD interview, where Gresham states that Lewis did not intend to publish A Grief Observed; it was a personal notebook. When it was published it was under the pseudonym NW Clark and by a publisher Lewis had never published with. Gresham also said that Lewis received
numerous copies of the book as gifts from friends who thought it would help.' That speaks to the power in Lewis's writing; even his friends thought the book would be helpful for him as he journeyed through his grief.

Lewis states in his book The Four Loves: "We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying
to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him, throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as the way in which they should break, so be it." That view is drastically changed when he writes Grief. In A Grief Observed we have a very different approach. Lewis presents a very visceral response to the loss of his wife. An example of this is that Lewis states at the beginning of the book: "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." This book shows us more of Lewis's own heart and life than almost anything else he wrote.

It is a great book for those dealing with loss - either for yourself or for someone you know and love. It is often used in grief counseling, and one of the courses I read it for was on the spirituality of death and dying. This book is a gem in the cannon of Lewis literature. It will not disappoint.

Other Reviews of Lewis's Books.
A Grief Observed
The Four Loves
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra
That Hideous Strength
The Dark Tower and Other Stories


Narnia Publication Order:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Last Battle

Narnia Chronological Order:
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Horse and His Boy
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Last Battle

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