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A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

A Grief Observed (1961)

by C. S. Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,599551,043 (4.17)84
  1. 10
    Levels of life by Julian Barnes (KayCliff)
  2. 00
    The initials in the heart by Laurence Whistler (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both authors write of their grief at the death of their wives.
  3. 01
    Breathtaking by Amber Nicole Metz (sundancer)
    sundancer: Breathtaking is a modern day version of A Grief Observed, written by a young woman of faith who planned her own funeral before she had graduated college.
  4. 01
    Widower's House by John Bayley (KayCliff)
  5. 01
    When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics) by Pema Chödrön (ssiegel)

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» See also 84 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
What a lovely book! I've lost the three most important people in my life, and this lent me comfort. C.S. Lewis was so very observant and in tune with his feelings in his grief, while I was muddled and in deep denial for the longest time.

Would this be a good recommended read for grief therapy? ( )
  quillmenow | Apr 6, 2015 |
A Grief Observed. C. S. Lewis. 1961. This searing account of Lewis’ grief after the death of his wife is heartfelt like that of Julian Barnes in Levels of Life. The difference seems like Lewis may have scribbled his pain in a journal and later decided to publish it whereas Barnes may have written his pain for publication. The other difference is Lewis is a believer and Barns is not. Both books put in to words what I have felt. I am not sure that these books can be appreciated fully unless the reader has lived with the pain of losing a love. ( )
  judithrs | Jan 19, 2015 |
I have been a huge admirer of CS Lewis for a very long time, and I also read a lot of Christian literature, apologetics, theology, and so on, which often reference CS Lewis and specifically this book. Even after all that though, this book was still absolutely not what I expected.

I read the entire book in one sitting (which isn’t the achievement that it may sound as the book is very short), and found it to be a very raw account of CS Lewis' grief. There were actually some parts of it where I almost felt I shouldn’t be reading it at all - as if I had opened a door, found a man wracked with grief and railing against God, and just stood there watching him for a while.

It was very interesting to see the change in him between the first and last chapters, but I was left feeling that the book was incomplete. I know that it isn’t supposed to be a 'story' with a beginning, middle and end, but I had hoped that there would be a kind of redemption - a rebuttal of his earlier arguments against God, an acknowledgement that there is a 'light at the end of the tunnel'. This was touched upon, but not with the same force that the original arguments were made earlier on in the book.

I would definitely recommend this book, but with a note of caution - this book is, very much as the title states, an observation of another person's grief. This may be helpful to some who have been recently bereaved, but might be quite distressing to others. If a person is already in a fragile state, they may not quite be ready to walk with CS Lewis in his grief too.
( )
  AngeloMarcos | Jan 6, 2015 |
Piu' che di un dolore, è il diario di un attaccamento: ad un dio assente, che i voli pindarici dell'intelletto non riescono a giustificare - se non agli occhi di un credente, e ci vuole comunque una bella propensione all'illusione; ad una relazione - di cui non posso dire nulla, ma di cui non sento il cuore - ma solo la testa.
Per il resto, un diario giustappunto frammentario, utile al paziente nel suo percorso di elaborazione del lutto, un po' meno al lettore vouyeristico che può ricevere maggiori gratificazioni e informazioni dai libri di Gibran, o dai testi di Gaber. ( )
  bobparr | Dec 14, 2014 |
I'd recommend to anyone going through the grieving process due to death or extreme illness. He hits the very heart of grief and love. ( )
  imaginationzombie | Sep 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, C. S.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gresham, Douglas H.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
L'Engle, MadeleineForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nils-Øivind HaagensenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
Did you ever know, how much you took away with you when you left?
Sorrow, however, turns out to be not a state but a process. It needs not a map but a history and if I don't stop writing that history at some quite arbitrary point, there's no reason why I should ever stop. There is something new to be chronicled every day.
It’s not true that I’m always thinking of it… but the times when I’m not are perhaps my worst. For them, though I have forgotten the reason, there is a spread over everything, a vague sense of wrongness, of something amiss… What’s wrong with the world to make it so flat, shabby, worn-out looking: then I remember.
Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time. Empty successiveness.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060652381, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:03 -0400)

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The author recounts his grief over the death of his wife, and explains how he reexamined his religious beliefs.

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Legacy Library: C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

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