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Sheldon Vanauken (1914–1996)

Author of A Severe Mercy

7 Works 2,761 Members 26 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author


Works by Sheldon Vanauken


Common Knowledge



A real- life love story
MenoraChurch | 22 other reviews | Mar 7, 2022 |
For fans of C.S. Lewis and deep thinking, this spiritual autiobiography is one that will stay with the reader long after he or she puts it down. In it the author relates the events of his life, mainly dealing with his deep love for his wife, Davy, and their resolve to create an unbreakable love. They thought long and deep about what it would take to make their bond unbreakable, even resolving to not have children and to follow one another into death. But that was before their journey to England, to Oxford, and their aquaintance with a vibrant Christian community, and with C.S. Lewis. As they seperately and then jointly begin lives of faith, they also wrestle with what that means for their lives, their careers, their friendships, and their marriage. Nothing tests the author quite so much as when Davy gets gravely ill. It is then that the words of C.S. Lewis in letters help and comfort him as he comes to terms with the "severe mercy" that they have been given.… (more)
debs4jc | 22 other reviews | Dec 17, 2020 |
This book is dear to me, as it's one of the first my fiance and I shared. It's the spiritual autobiography of the love between Sheldon Vanauken and his wife Jean ("Davy"), and it is probably the most heartbreakingly beautiful book I have ever read. It tells the story of their love from idealistic courtship days to World War II to graduate studies at Yale and Oxford, to Davy's illness and eventual death in Lynchburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. Most significantly, it recounts their conversion to Christianity and befriending of C.S. Lewis while in England. The sometimes-agonizing transformation of their love after they became Christians has impacted me deeply as I have contemplated marriage. I've read it twice within the past year and come away always with a longing for a cruciform love that is turned outward toward Christ and the world rather than inward upon itself.… (more)
LudieGrace | 22 other reviews | Aug 10, 2020 |
Sheldon Vanauken is always a pleasure to read. Nothing beats A Severe Mercy, of course, but I wasn't expecting it to--rather, it fills in some blanks which the first book had left me wondering about, and gives a glimpse into Vanauken's heart after Davy's death. Quite a trip it is, too. It's very interesting to see how he ends up questioning or repudiating much of his '60s radicalism (with the exception of his Civil Rights involvement), and whether or not the reader agrees with his later stance on, say, ordination of women to the priesthood, it's hard to deny that he's considered the issues from various perspectives (having embraced many of them at one point or another). Being a bit of a sucker for conversion stories, I also enjoyed the story of how he went over to Catholicism from the Episcopal Church. The book is also a sort of anthology of some of Vanauken's poetry, essays, and stories from the late 50's through the early 80's. While some of these were more absorbing than others, they were mostly chosen with an eye toward moving the story along and weren't just thrown in gratuitously. A worthwhile, insightful read.… (more)
LudieGrace | 1 other review | Aug 10, 2020 |



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