A Severe Mercy
Beloved, profoundly moving account of the author's marriage, the couple's search for faith and friendship with C. S. Lewis, and a spiritual strength that sustained Vanauken after his wife's untimely death.
Also this story was about romantic love, and I only like that w ...more
A line from this book ended up in one of my favourite Bruce Cockburn songs, "Fascist Architecture." See if you can find it.
From the last chapter:
"When he [Lewis] died, I remembered his great shout across the Oxford High Street: 'Christians N ...more
The beginning is a description of a passionate love affair so all-consuming that it reads claustrophobic, even obsessive. Though the author describes how he and his wife "Davy" came gradually to Christianity through letters to and from C.S. Lewis, it reads to me as if h ...more
He reminds me of that guy you avoid at functions - he's got some good stories, but he talks on far too long and has a very high opinion of ...more
"The actual thing - inloveness - requires something like a spark leaping back and forth from one to the other becoming more intense every moment, love building up like voltage in ...more
Mercy can often be misunderstood, thrown down and trampled upon by our raw emotions. How can something so good cost so much? Isn’t mercy the act of setting free; a pardon from a much deserved punishment? Why then this sting? Could it be that mercy comes at a high price? Perhaps. And if so, does it come at the expense of the giver or the receiver?
I’m not here to answer these questions. I would ...more
Summary: this is the story of two wildly intelligent persons who fall in love, go to Oxford, meet my hero C.S. Lewis, and become Christians. Then Davy, the wife, dies from a terrible lingering disease. Scene.
As far as romance goes: by both poetic and theological (as a Calvinist, I believe that my wife and I were literally created for each other) incli ...more
And the second half is even more powerful and profound, when they move to Oxford and meet C.S. Lewis, the wife becomes a Christian and the husband struggles with his huma ...more
The only caveat is that the beginning of the book is dreadfully slow. I urge anyone who starts reading this book to press on past Sheldon's little stroll down memory land, and wait for the good stuff.
And, as an added bonus, our good ...more
That's not to say it's not worth reading (it is), or isn't interesting (it is.) For a picture of conversion and a raw look at grief, it's worth the short time you'll spend reading.
Katherine's review mirrors my thoughts almost exactly, so I'll let her words ...more
First of all, if you read this book, you have to start it knowing that (a) This is a true story, so Vanauken is writing this as memories. When you read non-fiction ...more
Here's a nit-picky complaint: Vanauken speaks from a painful place of privilege. To be clear, I am NOT someone who thinks privilege taints a person; there's an idea, perpetuated mostly by contemporary feminists, that having privilege (being a white, rich, Christianized male) means one's take on the world is irrelevant since their experience has been too cushy to warrant consideration. This is not what I mean when I describe Vanauken's privilege as "painfu ...more
The story opens at Davy's gravestone, and Sheldon then flashes backwards in time to tell us of how he met and fell in love with Davy. We get glimpses into their romance and deep love. Along the way, Sheldon and Davy meet ...more
The story begins with the author's marriage to Davy, who is his best friend. Early on, the couple decides at all cost to preserve their "inloveness": to let nothing come between them - not material possessions, or other people, or even personal selfishness - they decide that if either has a ...more
I found this book to be greatly enriching. The language and style I enjoyed (though I admit I am not a great judge of writing quality), but it was the content drawn from the author's life and the depth of his reflections on his experiences that gave such richness to the book.
The book l ...more