Rivayat-i yak gham (A Grief Observed) (Persian) Paperback – Aug 2008
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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 Mass Market Paperback edition.
"A very personal, anguished, luminous little book about the meaning of death, marriage, and religion." -- Publishers Weekly
"I read Lewis for comfort and pleasure many years ago, and a glance into the books revives my old admiratation." -- John Updike --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
C.S. Lewis was a confirmed bachelor (not that he was a 'confirmed bachelor', mind you, just that he had become set enough in his ways over time that he no longer held out the prospect of marriage or relationships). Then, into his comfortable existence, a special woman, Joy Davidson, arrived. They fell in love quickly, and had a brief marriage of only a few years, when Joy died of cancer.
This left Lewis inconsolable.
For his mother had also died of cancer, when he was very young.
Cancer, cancer, cancer!
Lewis goes through a dramatic period of grief, from which he never truly recovers (according to the essayist Chad Walsh, who writes a postscript to Lewis' book). He died a few years later, the same day as the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
However, Lewis takes the wonderful and dramatic step of writing down his grief to share with others. The fits and starts, the anger, the reconciliation, the pain--all is laid bare for the reader to experience. So high a cost for insight is what true spirituality requires. An awful, awe-ful cost and experience.
'Did you know, dear, how much you took away with you when you left? You have stripped me even of my past...'
All that was good paled in comparison to the loss. How can anything be good again? This is such an honest human feeling, that even the past is no longer what is was in relation to the new reality of being alone again.
In the end, Lewis reaches a bit of a reconciliation with his feelings, and with God.Read more ›
I feel it is less an inspirational book than a self-assessment book, for Lewis highlighted a few doubtful questions he had and which he believed everyone should have asked instead of being ignorant or in staunch denial. Controversial questions on God's goodness, His realness and the reasons of [some] sufferings are raised, not to stumble [the reader] but paradoxically uplift.
Interestingly, after reading this book, I wanted to know why we have hope in God, why we rejoice in His goodness which when asked about, we can only answer mindlessly with meaningless and bland model answers. Surely a Christian life demands a deeper realm of understanding and intimacy of/with God. Lewis depicted that maturity in his writing, through his boldness to admit his disappointments, his grief - which a Christian shouldn't be deprived of just because he believes in the hope of Heaven - and his doubts.
It is not a long piece of literature, nor did it explore all kinds of suffering but only parochially death. Despite that, Lewis had produced yet one of the most honest accounts in the Christian context, about his love for his wife, his faith [which before was a card castle ever so vulnerable], and God's good intention in everything He does. Even in suffering. Even in physical pain. Listen and probably what you hear is not the slam of a door and bolting locks, but a voice that will tell you to continue trusting and be at peace.
My salute to one of the most gifted and [Christian-wise] well versed writers.
Loss unites us all even though our situations vary. We all face the hurt, lonliness and longing for times that will never be shared with our loved one. Knowing that there will come a time when we will meet again is my great comfort.
I have found this book and other books to be a great help.
I would also recommend, Write from Your Heart, A Healing Grief Journal. Both of these books were instrumental in helping me cope with my loss.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
This isn't the greatest cover, but it's the right price and the book I needed for bookclub:)Published 5 months ago by Jenna H
Dealing with grief myself, he expresses everything I have felt and have been going through but could never put it to words myself. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Winters_Wolf
Grief is one of the most salient and pervasive of human experiences. It is particularly painful when it’s a consequence of death of someone really close to us. Read morePublished on Jan. 10 2014 by Dr. Bojan Tunguz
This book is typically CS Lewis. If one has read Lewis and enjoys his writing, this is another nugget. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2013 by John R D Brady
After the passing of my youngest son, Allen, I was quite a mess. This little book puts it all into perspective.Published on March 9 2013 by Siegfried
Lewis' insights in his own grief was astounding. It was a required read in my classes at LRU.EDU and I wasn't disappointed one bit reading it. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2012 by Mike Walker
I have read most of what Lewis has written and this is one of his best works.
His writing is always clear and focused; it always presents something worth paying... Read more
Lewis originally published this under the pen name of N.W Clerk. I read this book two years after the death of someone very close and in the reading, it gave solace to know I was... Read morePublished on May 19 2009 by D Glover