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A Grief Observed

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  24,873 ratings  ·  1,271 reviews
Written as he mourned the loss of his wife, C. S. Lewis's A Grief Observed is an elegant and honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith. This intensely personal memoir has helped countless others find courage and hope.

p. 1: "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same flutte...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published February 1st 1983 by Bantam (first published 1961)
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K.D. Absolutely
Aug 16, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more

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...more
Medeline  Sinclair
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...more
Dennis Baker
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...more
Jan 27, 2011 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Erin ~ (It's October, time for creepy books)
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,...more
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...more
Donald Barnett
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'...more
Aug 30, 2013 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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...more
I'm just gonna post quotes

"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."

"An no one ever told me about the laziness of grief."

"The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."

"And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air."

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...more
Mar 14, 2012 Brett rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any human with a soul/heart
One of the most moving (and poetic) masterpieces ever written. This very small book (112 pages) had a profound effect on me, and I would submit that the same experience happens upon the reading of it by anyone else with a heart that still beats strongly in their chest.

Dealing with the imminent death of his wife, now bed-ridden, Mr. Lewis takes us on a heart wrenching journey of sorrow, guilt, and even anger. This is a collection of his actual letters and notes during the time, some more articula...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This slender book--only 76 pages in four chapters--is both raw and powerful. I do understand why one reviewer spoke of feeling distaste that something so personal was published. I think that's its strength though. Yes, I almost wanted to look away. I've felt conflicted at times about Lewis' work. I admire him as a writer, but disagree strongly with many aspects of his worldview. For one, I'm no believer in any aspect of the supernatural, am no Christian, and Christianity defines him and his work...more
Jonathan Coleman
As always, C.S. Lewis is vividly thought-provoking. Here are some of my favorite pithy quotations from A Grief Observed:

"The most precious gift that marriage gave me was this constant impact of something very close and intimate yet all the time unmistakably other, resistant -- in a word, real."

"You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you."

"What do people mean when they say 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is...more
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...more
Terri Jacobson
This book is about the grief that C.S. Lewis experienced after the death of his beloved wife. It is raw, honest, and questioning in tone. He has the courage to even doubt his belief in God during this terrible time. This book will be especially poignant to someone who has lost a spouse. However, I recently lost my son, and I found great comfort and solace in this book. A true classic, the best book about grief and loss that I have every read.
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...more
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
This four chapter book is another little dynamo by CS Lewis. It was apparently published a couple of years after his beloved wife died, and a couple of years before he died.

I was caught off-balance a bit by the intensity and rawness of the emotions he revealed in the first couple of chapters. However, I appreciate the honesty with which he revealed his pain, fears, and confusion. The most poignant part of the grief he shared (to me, anyway) was the way the death of his wife challenged his faith...more
It is strangely comforting to know that C.S. Lewis had moments (or maybe more than moments) of doubt.

This is the first book of his I have read which explicitly mentions purgatory, and I would be interested to know what his Biblical support for it was.
Angelo Marcos
I have been a huge admirer of CS Lewis for a very long time, and I also read a lot of Christian literature, apologetics, theology, and so on, which often reference CS Lewis and specifically this book. Even after all that though, this book was still absolutely not what I expected.

I read the entire book in one sitting (which isn’t the achievement that it may sound as the book is very short), and found it to be a very raw account of CS Lewis' grief. There were actually some parts of it where I almo...more
Teresa B
Nov 30, 2011 Teresa B rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Teresa by: a widower friend
Every person should read this raw, brutally honest portrayal of one author's personal rantings through "the stages of grief" following his wife's death. Those who have experienced the trauma of losing a spouse to death will find empowering validation for their own tempestuous emotions. Those who have not endured such a loss may, through the eloquence of Lewis's imagery, be able to better approach an approximate understanding of what it means for those who have.

A recent widower first recommended...more
"a grief observed" e probabil una din cele mai cutremuratoare carti care mi-au cazut in mina. cei care i-ati citit biografia ["surprised by joy"] stiti ca procesul lui de convertire a fost unul rational si lipsit de focuri de artificii. de fapt cam in toate scrierile [din cit am citit & obsevat eu] pare sa aiba un soi de detasare rationala. tocmai din cauza asta am fost mai mult decit uimita sa descopar aici un lewis pasional si introspectiv, scriitorul cedindu-i loc barbatului de data asta....more
This was a very good book. I was surprised, at first, by the way that it was written, but as I got further into it, I realized that Lewis wrote it for himself more than anyone else, and then later published it. I'm sure it would have been even more meaningful to me, had I read it at a time when I was grieving. He wrote the entire book after losing his wife to cancer. Here is one of my favorite thoughts from the book:

"Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is get...more
Sepenggal kalimat sebagai awal ketertarikan menikmati untaian kalimat “mengupas duka” didalam buku ini :

“Tidak ada yang pernah memberitahuku kalau kesedihan itu sama dengan ketakutan. Aku tidak takut, tapi aku merasa takut. Perutku sakit, aku resah, mengantuk. Dan aku harus terus mengalaminya.”

Aku tahu yang namanya kehilangan atau tepatnya dipisahkan oleh kematian seseorang yang sangat kita cintai pasti rasanya sangat menyedihkan seolah-olah kita ingin terus mengenangnya dan hidup bersamanya, hi...more
Courtney Johnston
"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."

I don't think I've ever felt the prickle of tears over the first paragraph of a book.

'A Grief Observed' is barely a book - 70 small pages of short paragraphs - lancing, glancing thoughts. Lewis wrote as a way of coping after the death of his wife from bone cancer; he had no original intention to...more
*(I could not find the edition that I read from so I chose this because this has the same cover picture. Edition I read was 1996 isbn=978-0-06-065238-8)*

This book was originally published in 1961 under the pseudonym of N.W. Clerk then restored under C.S. Lewis in 1996. This is a memoir of Mr. Lewis' lament of his beloved wife's death.

This went over my head! His thoughts and questions were too deep for me to get a grip. It had a poetry feel to it and you know how I am with poetry ... I'm dumbfou...more
A Grief Observed is one of C.S. Lewis' most autobiographical books. He basically writes an account of his experience following the death of his wife, Joy. It seems like more of an account of his grief than a narrative, because it really doesn't tell a story. Just like the title says, it's as if he observes his own grief and writes about it. He doesn't discuss Joy's life, their marriage or anyone else present in his life at the time. He does not put on airs about having some superhuman strength d...more
C.S. Lewis is held in high esteem by me for his writing and his faith and through this book, he feels so relatable and real. And human! Such a renowned Christian writer pouring out his thoughts on grief...I almost felt like a friend was talking to me, rather than reading an essay from C.S. Lewis. Such comfort I took in that.

I don’t think I gave this book enough attention, as I think there are a lot of lovely phrases and images that would have driven a point home even more poignantly had I been...more
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  • The God Who Is There
  • Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis
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  • The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life
  • Lenten Lands: My Childhood with Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis
  • Where Is God When It Hurts?
  • The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis
  • A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss
  • Orthodoxy
  • The Knowledge of the Holy
  • The Quotable Lewis
  • For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy
  • Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul
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...
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia, #1-7) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6) Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia, #2)

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“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” 1560 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.” 240 likes
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