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A Grief Observed

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  35,992 Ratings  ·  1,815 Reviews
Written with love, humility, and faith, this brief but poignant volume was first published in 1961 and concerns the death of C. S. Lewis's wife, the American-born poet Joy Davidman. In her introduction to this new edition, Madeleine L'Engle writes: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a health ...more
Paperback, 76 pages
Published February 6th 2001 by HarperOne (first published 1961)
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Aug 06, 2015 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction
To begin with, let me offer you my condolences.

If you’ve come here to read about C.S. Lewis’s A Grief Observed, you’re probably doing it for a specific reason. It’s not the thing you reach for in times of sunshine and cloudless days and a future of beautiful forevers. It’s the thing you reach for when you are casting about in the dark, looking for something, anything, that might help.

So, I am sorry for your loss. For the grief you are experiencing.

* * *

My grief: On June 22, 2015, my brother-i
May 14, 2013 Diane rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, grief
Each person's grief is unique. When C.S. Lewis' wife died in 1960, he journaled and took notes, trying to observe his bereavement. This is a short but meaningful read; it is less than 100 pages, but it took me several days to finish because I frequently had to put the book down and contemplate certain passages.

Lewis often wrote and spoke about his Christianity, and this book has meditations on God and faith and purpose. I am not a religious person, so another reader may find these sections more
May 25, 2015 KamRun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
از هر چشم اندازی که به مرگ بنگریم، بدین معنی است که تمام تجربیات به پایان رسیده اند و مربوط به قلمرو گذشته اند و گذشته،گذشته است. معنی زمان نیز همین است،زمان عنوانی دیگر است برای مرگ و بهشت نیز...بهشت نیز وضعیتی است که تمام چیزهای پیشین درگذشته اند

درباره نویسنده

عموما سی اس لوئیس را در ایران بواسطه مجموعه نارنیا بهعنوان یک فانتزینویس میشناسند، این درحالیست که لوئیس در حوزه الهیات و مذهب هم چهره ای شناخته شده و جهانی محسوب میشود. لوئیس تا پایان عمر خود بیش از 50 اثر از خود به جای گذاشت که برخی شه
K.D. Absolutely
May 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grieving people; Fans of C. S. Lewis
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, memoirs
Heartwrenching narrative about death and mourning. Inspiring musings of somebody who have just lost his loved one. Musings that include all phases of grief from shock, pain, acceptance and moving on. He even went to the stage of questioning the existence and love of God but in a way is so thought-provoking even people with strong faith will need to double check his deep-seated beliefs.

This 76-page poignant, partly angry and deeply moving journal by Clive Staples (C. S.) Lewis (1898-1963) was fir
Jun 08, 2010 Kim rated it really liked it

Reading this book has resulted in an unknown number of panic attacks. I think that this should be one of the book jacket reviews. How can 73 beautifully deckled pages cause such angst?
Words, words, words.

I have a confession. I had to read this twice… the first time through I was a bit inebriated. Okay, more than a bit. I felt that I needed a little push to get me over that cliff… It’s almost like the more time passes the more hesitant I am to revisit the grief. Not that those scabs aren’t heal
Maddalena Tomassini
Feb 26, 2009 Maddalena Tomassini rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-loved
I read this book for the first time something like four years ago. Me, like everyone else who had gone through the loss of a beloved, will surely recognize the same emotions that Lewis describes.
It's not easy to give a rational review of this book. It's something like a mirror, reading those words makes you feel like Lewis had been looking into your heart when he wrote them.
But this is not only a portrait of loss. It would be reductive to say that he only speaks about his pain. First of all, the
Donald Barnett
Aug 25, 2013 Donald Barnett rated it it was amazing
After my wife passed away from cancer and I was in the depths of grief, well meaning friends kept bringing me what I call "victory books." These are books about dealing with the death of a loved one that basically said, "If you were a victorious Christian you would get over this." I wanted to throw those books in the pond behind my house. I hurt bad and I didn't want to get over it! I loved her for 20 years and to just "get over it" was to count her as unimportant in my life.

Somehow, and I don'
Emer (ALittleHaze)
Saying goodbye to someone who was there beside us our whole lives is just about the hardest thing we ever have to do.

“And grief still feels like fear. Perhaps, more strictly, like suspense. Or like waiting; just hanging about waiting for something to happen. It gives life a permanently provisional feeling. It doesn’t seem worth starting anything. I can’t settle down. I yawn, I fidget, I smoke too much. Up till this I always had too little time. Now there is nothing but time. Almost pure time,
Jan 10, 2008 Dennis rated it really liked it
Favorite Quotes:

"I once read the sentence 'I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.' That's true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief."

"I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whet
Sep 02, 2008 booklady rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone dealing w/grief
Do we find a book or does it find us? A Grief Observed seemed to 'find' me when I needed consoling insight after my brother died; C. S. Lewis was foreverafter a friend who not only knew and understood something very profound, but also had been there for me when I needed him.

A Grief Observed was also my introduction to the immortal Lewis, having missed the Narnian Chronicles in my childhood. While an improbable first book, Grief is no less excellent for being anomalous. Lewis wrote Grief in respo
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*
It's hard to rate a book like this - doesn't feel fully appropriate since it's more an internal dialogue through stages of grief than anything else. C.S. Lewis was always a talented writer, whether penning fiction or non, but this is a diary-style jotting of internal reflections during the horrible stages of losing his wife to cancer.

Written in mini paragraphs that were apparently sections recorded during his thoughts, I can almost picture him waking up at night and unable to go back to sleep,
Jan 19, 2014 orsodimondo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inglese, memoir
Un testo fondamentale di quella che mi viene da definire “letteratura del lutto”.

Iniziato a scrivere pochi giorni dopo la morte della moglie amatissima - che si chiamava Joy e qui diventa chissà perché H. (c’è da dire che il libro uscì firmato con uno pseudonimo) – e pubblicato solo pochi mesi dopo l’evento.
Composto ‘a caldo’.
Al caldo del dolore rovente, inarrestabile…

In questo mi sembra che si differenzia dalla maggior parte, se non forse da tutte le opere che si occupano
Sep 16, 2010 Louize rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unlike C.S. Lewis, it was my dad whom I lost 17 years ago; but when he said that “grief felt so like fear” in the beginning of his book, I believe I know what he meant ; or, to make it more precise, I think he knows exactly what he’s talking about.
A Grief Observed offers a look at a man in deep despair, who doubted God because of it, but eventually emerges with a deep understanding of himself, his love for his departed wife, and of God.

In the first part, the question he presented is not “Do God
May 12, 2010 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: c-s-lewis
"Every grief is different"
Which is so true. I think Douglas H. Gresham rightly notes in his Introduction to this book that the article is an important part of the title. This is A Grief Observed. It is Lewis's own personal struggle and discovery.
Yet at the same time, grief is recognizable. We share something when we grieve, something that transcends specific circumstances. Lewis touches that.
He is so emotional in this book that it shocked me. This isn't the Lewis I recognize, yet at the same ti
Demetrius Rogers
Dec 31, 2015 Demetrius Rogers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
This was one of the greatest books I've read this year. Man! This was outstanding. Wow. I can't say enough about the wisdom and insight embedded in these pages. I love short, pithy, and thoughtful works. Concentrated thought can go so far. Add a little water and it expands into a meal. There might be more here than in a book of a 1,000 pages.

My favorite writing of Lewis' is his novel Till We Have Faces. TWHF is about the grief that follows loss, and in this story Lewis nails it in stunning fash
Aug 30, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays
It is difficult for a practicing Christian to write a book about losing a beloved wife without sounding a bit too pat to someone whose beliefs are different. And yet, I do think Lewis was honest with himself: When his wife Joy died of cancer, his recovery involved a kind of hide and seek with God.

Throughout this short book, Lewis maintains his high standards of writing and comes up with such painfully honest observations as the following:
Tonight all the hells of young grief have opened again; t
Franco  Santos
¿Te diste cuenta en algún momento, amor mío, de lo mucho que te llevaste contigo al morir? Me despojaste hasta de mi pasado, hasta de las cosas que nunca compartimos.
La obra más personal de Lewis. Es una constante de tristeza y desolación por la muerte de su esposa. En éste se cuestiona la existencia de Dios y nos muestra cómo sobrelleva su dolor inherente a la soledad.

Eramos uña y carne. O, si lo preferís, un solo barco. El motor de proa se fue al garete. Y el motorcito de reserva, que soy
Barnabas Piper
Jan 01, 2016 Barnabas Piper rated it it was amazing
I read this once before, right after college and appreciated the keen observations of God and man. I read it again just now and appreciate the deep humanness of the pain and agony. I believe this to be Lewis's best book in that it differs so dramatically from his others. It is so rich and honest and painful and hopeful.
Aug 22, 2010 Tina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Original post at One More Page

Just yesterday, I was chatting with one of my best friends who is also my old household head in Youth for Christ (YFC). She was telling me about her latest Kindle purchase (if you're curious, it's Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel). I told her about how I was reading A Grief Observed in my Kindle, and added that I wanted to buy other C.S. Lewis books there, too, because I realized that his books are a bit too expensive if I buy it here in full price, and I don't rea
I stumbled across this little book in a used bookstore and as I recently lost my mother, I thought it might be just what I needed. It was! This reads like a diary written by Mr. Lewis during the time right after his wife passed away. His stream of thought so closely echoed my own, with all the ups and downs of his emotions. As he struggles to come to terms with this grief in his heart, I connected with so much of what he wrote. And there were so many good quotes that I wrote out and stuck around ...more
Lenkiu galvą prieš C. S. Lewis meistriškumą. Pakutiniu metu skaitinėjau literatūrą apie netektį, ir šioje knygoje radau tai, ko ieškojau. Tai gyvas, išjaustas, išbūtas sielvartas. Ištvertas sielvartas. Tikrąja to žodžio prasme. Skaudus, piktas, kupinas liūdesio ir ilgesio. Tikras. Jautrus. Drąsus. Nusivylęs. Aišku, mano apibūdinimai toli gražu neperteiks autoriaus meistriškumo. Tad imkit ir skaitykit. Manau, nesigailėsit. O aš eisiu ieškoti, kur šią knygą galėčiau gauti savo namų bibliotekai.
Rebecca McNutt
Author C.S. Lewis, best known for his work in the fantasy genre writing the Chronicles of Narnia series, unfortunately lost his wife and was told to repress his grief and emotion, keeping up appearances, but in secret he wrote this amazing, sad and very human book consisting of poetry and thoughts he had back at the time.
Mar 02, 2014 BrokenTune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This review was first published on BookLikes:

Just over a week ago I wrote a review of The Problem of Pain, one of Lewis' early works, in which I tried (and failed) to come to terms with Lewis' notion that pain is an expression of divine love and an instrument of God's to shape humans into more complex beings.

As some of my BL friends have aptly pointed out, Lewis wrote The Problem of Pain from a theoretical and rather detached point of view. The Problem o
Jim B
Nov 25, 2014 Jim B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who grieves the death of a loved one.
Shelves: christian, classic
The anguish and honest of C.S. Lewis after he lost his wife made this book unforgettable. I will never forget his fear that his memory was remaking her from the complex person she was to some idealized person. This is one of the griefs of loss. The people we love are so complex while they are alive -- they surprise us, frustrate us, relieve us, disagree with us, love us. It's not enough to remember -- real grief misses what we have started forgetting . . .

I think a lot of Christians and nonchri
Aug 02, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing
This may be both one of the saddest, and one of the most inspirational books I've ever read. In case you don't know the premise, this is a sort of auto-biographical about C.S. Lewis. He was a happy bachelor for most of his life, but through some strange circumstances (involving legal residency) he ended up marrying a woman whom he was close friends with. Before he realized it, he was madly in love with her. Unfortunately after about 4 years of marriage, she passed away from cancer (as did both h ...more
Jul 03, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it
I have had some grief in my life but nothing earth-shattering. I've had grandparents, uncles and aunts, friends, and loads of pets die; however, I have never felt the extreme loss that Lewis touches on so briefly and yet so poignantly here. I had no real reason to pick it up when I did, other than I had never read it and I wanted to read something by Lewis. Now, after reading it, I have two thoughts on this book:

1.) Part of me cannot fully appreciate the weight of this book until I go through
May 31, 2012 Blake rated it it was amazing
At first, this book totally upset me. As a HUGE fan of C.S. Lewis, it was hard to see him discount God, as he went through his grief. BUT then, I equated it to my own grief of late, and totally recognized his writing as a Christian man, trying to work things out through his anger, grief, love, and amazing love of God. Not really a novel, more just his writings in grief, and anguish, spontaneous, almost as if I could feel the tears as he wrote. For years of reading his amazing Christian, Fantasy ...more
David Gregg
This is one of the most remarkable books I've ever known. It is, in my experience, the best work of short nonfiction in Christian literary history. Regardless, it is certainly one of the most poignant. I feel inadequate to explain further, but being so brief a book, I see no reason why you shouldn't read it.

For those of you who struggle with completing nonfiction, I will tell you that you likely will have no such problem with "A Grief Observed". It's emotionally, psychologically, philosophically
Aug 28, 2016 Negin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.S. Lewis wrote this in the form of a journal after his dear wife’s passing to cancer. I was looking forward to reading it, and although there were many parts that I thought were thought-provoking and insightful, overall I didn’t appreciate it as much as I had hoped. However, I am glad that I read it. It may be eye-opening to many when one sees that the faith of even the strongest soul can be shaken when faced with such grief.

He wrote: “Perhaps the bereaved ought to be isolated in special sett
Fatma AbdelSalam
Jan 05, 2015 Fatma AbdelSalam rated it really liked it
Shelves: pdf, 2016
if you can't get over a death of a dearly beloved and can't get any reasonable consolation. here is a book which can really help you somehow. if you have a grief over a something and no one can understand this well, here you will find that your anger is a must. each experience of grief is unique.
C.S Lewis had a grief over the death of his wife, he is sharing his experience, feelings, his ups and downs and above all of these: this feeling of losing all faith we have in god's mercy and reasonabili
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  • A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss
  • A Severe Mercy: A Story of Faith, Tragedy and Triumph
  • The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is
  • Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6)
  • The Quotable Lewis
  • The God Who Is There
  • Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis
  • Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity
  • Orthodoxy
  • When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy
  • The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society
  • Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life
  • For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
  • On the Incarnation
  • Unspoken Sermons: Series I, II, III
  • Recapture the Wonder
  • The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
  • Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than th ...more
More about C.S. Lewis...

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“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 2161 likes
“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” 417 likes
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