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Publisher's Summary

Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moments", A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This work contains his concise, genuine reflections on that period: "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 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.

©1961 C.S. Lewis Pte., Ltd.; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A very personal, anguished, luminous little book about the meaning of death, marriage, and religion." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Sam
  • Santee, CA, USA
  • 03-01-06

A Grief Observed (Unabridged)

Excellent reader. I bought this book due to the loss of someone very close to me. C.S. Lewis wrote this book after the loss of his wife, and documented in a journal his grieving.

The grieving process, though personal to each individual, is some what universal in how our mind responds to an event such as this.

I highly recommend.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • CRESCENT CITY, CALIFORNIA, United States
  • 11-26-11

Read This One

If your life burst like a balloon and you want to be dead, because you can't believe the one you love has died, this book is for you. This is no poem. This is no nice story. This is your story after death kicks the crap out of you, takes your most priced possession, and leaves you gasping for breath. This is the grief book you are looking for.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Thought-provoking and relentless

I've both read and listened to this very fine if sad tome and in both media the hurt and pain that Lewis feels on the death of his beloved H comes through in spades. Lewis spares no feelings as he lashes out at this world and the Other World for taking the one woman in his life that had made a difference. In the end, he reconciles himself to fate and to Fate and Faith, but the journey is long, and the days of pain numerous. I usually warn someone not to read/listen to a book if one is depressed. In this case, I encourage it. You will find yourself identifying with Lewis' travails and, hopefully, when done you will find new joy and a renewed hope at the end of the journey. This book is a book of Faith, but in order to get there, one has to cross the chasm of Doubt. This Lewis does, but the journey is painful, and full of personal introspection. Give him the benefit of the doubt and trust him as he finally concluded that he must trust Him for all outcomes.
The reader is British. What else is there to say. He reads well, adds the correct amount of emphasis where needed. His accent does not get in the way, and even adds a small amount of charm to the narration, but at the same time, he is British and in passages that rubbed me the wrong way. Still, his voice added to Lewis' voice produced a remarkable work worthy of consideration, especially if one is going through grief him/herself. This is a treasure. Pick it up and learn from it.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Crescent City, CA, United States
  • 11-26-11

Read This One

If your life burst like a balloon and you want to be dead, because you can't believe the one you love has died, this book is for you. This is no poem. This is no nice story. This is your story after death kicks the crap out of you, takes your most priced possession, and leaves you gasping for breath. This is the grief book you are looking for.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fantastic perspective

My mother just passed, and I had purchased this book over a year ago. God knows the right time for all things.

This is a must read (or listen) for anyone wanting to share death's bitter pill.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Midlothian, VA, United States
  • 07-23-13

A heartbreaking book with a lot of value

This book will break your heart. The reality of Lewis' pain is too evident throughout the entire narrative. The reader does an excellent job, he reads it in a way that is real, not dramatic, and I think captures the feeling perfectly.

Lewis possessed one of the finest minds in modern theology. This book is a brutal image of when an academic understanding of God comes into conflict with the reality of a fallen world. If you are married it will make you look at your spouse with a new sense of what value means.

I highly recommend reading / listening to his earlier work "The Problem of Pain" which is a very academic look at pain through the eyes of a theologian, and then listen to this book. It is very eye opening, especially for Christians, but really, for any one who is interested in spirituality, philosophy and theology.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 12-19-11

Great for those struggling with pain

What did you love best about A Grief Observed?

It really helped me through my own time of pain. It is honest , truthful and deep. You know that someone else knows exactly how it feels; he describes your own pain for you, even though he is actually talking about his own pain.<br/><br/>it's important to remember that this is A single Grief Observed, not all pains observed. Everyone's experience will be different but this is the most insight to a single pain I can find.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Lewis was familiar with grief

Lewis captures what it is like to lose someone that you passionately love. This is not a theoretical book but a description of very personal feelings.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • North Mackay, Australia
  • 11-06-12

Amazing look at death of a loved one

What made the experience of listening to A Grief Observed the most enjoyable?

I wouldn't say enjoyable because of the topic, but the way the author opened up and gave a no nonsense account of the aftermath of loosing ones soul mate. It made me stop and think if it happened to me and how I would feel. Truly an amazing piece of literature.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Grief Observed?

The part where he was coming to grips with religion.

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His passion to which he was reading, very eloquent.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and I did listen to it in one sitting, it was spell binding.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Honest exploration of grief

Would you listen to A Grief Observed again? Why?

I have listened to it several times, catching new things each time.

Who was your favorite character and why?

CS Lewis of course. He is brave and candid.

What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

I appreciated his foreign accent, made me imagine CS Lewis was speaking directly to me.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Through the valley of the shadow of death.......

Any additional comments?

A must-listen for anyone grieving a spouse.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Austin
  • 04-11-13

a must for anybody alive

this book has two ten minute introductions which i am not reviewing..

i have listened to this book several times now and its raw honesty takes my breath away

no easy answers here thank God, more of a journey through a sea of pain to.. Well the book is a hopeful one i believe and death doesn't have the last laugh.

if like me you haven't really experienced grief but know somebody who has this might help you understand

excellently read by Ralph Cosham.





1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • H
  • 11-27-17

An account of grief written from the heart.

I listened to this soon after my mum passed away and found it helpful. Listening again 3 months later I can identify with so much more with what CS Lewis writes. Especially about recalling what a person was like when they lived. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Mrs. H. L. Rider
  • 10-05-15

Always something to be learned in everything

I am sure if you have lost a spouse and wonder about faith this book could be helpful. If only to know you are not alone in your feelings. Perhaps I expected more spirituality than was ever intended by the author. Somethings can't be explained rather experienced. There is always something to be learned in everything. Hear for yourself and then decide.

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  • JC
  • 09-14-17

A beautiful book

Helpful for any kind of loss or heartbreak. I liked this book because grief is so universal and it's nice to hear in someone else's words, so accurately describe how it feels from inside the pain. It made me feel less alone and more comforted. It would be a good book to give to family and friends of a person who is grieving a loss and/or heartbreak, so they know how to behave and what to expect from someone in the grieving process, especially the part where it says that you (the grieved) is glad to have family/friends around but wishes to be more or less left alone while in company. I think at one point he writes something like, I need their company but I wish they would let me be, that they would talk, just not to me, but among themselves.