Download A Grief Observed [pdf,epub,mobi] by C. S. Lewis

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At the time, CS Lewis described his marriage in 1956 to the American poet Helen (“H”) Joy Davidman as “a pure matter of friendship and expediency”, primarily intended to keep her and her two sons in the country; a confirmed bachelor, he later wrote: “I never expected to have, in my 60s, the happiness that passed me by in my 20s.” But Joy was already ill, and their relationship was conducted in the shadow of cancer: for Lewis the four years following their wedding brought intensely personal experiences both of the miraculous, and of despair.

First published in 1961 under the pseudonym NW Clerk, Lewis’s account of his mourning for Joy is in many ways the trial by fire of the faith he urbanely expounded in The Problem of Pain: an intimate, anguished account of a man grappling with the mysteries of faith and love. The ferocious and uncanting intellect that thrived in love denies Lewis the traditional consolations of mourning: he is tormented by the thought that suffering in life offers no guarantee of peace in death; that the mere act of remembering is one of overwriting – his own selective memories falling “like the small flakes that come when it is going to snow all night”.

“Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time, empty successiveness,” Lewis reflects. Wary of this aimless potential, his only concession to form is a limitation to the length of the four notebooks he found around his house, refusing to indulge himself by buying more. By turns elegant and raw, A Grief Observed is a powerful record of thought and emotion experienced in real time, and as much the biography of a love as it is an exploration of grief and faith.

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