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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.

Click here to see all the C. S. Lewis titles in our collection.
©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 listeners say about A Grief Observed

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  • H
  • 27-11-17

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.





3 people found this helpful

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Wow

Should be called a torture observed. For a brief chapter in his life he felt whole, validated, connected and loved. The saying better to have loved and lost rings very true.

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deep

like a modern day Job it really helps with everyday lament that God wants to hear your heart not what you think he want to hear, very moving.

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Reflective listening

CS Lewis can be difficult to read, it helped hearing it spoken out loud!

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  • LG
  • 24-03-22

Needed to listen to this book

As someone who just lost their father to suicide albeit 2 and half years ago, this book touched me in ways that I didn't realise I needed to think about. I would not have been able to listen to it immediately after my fathers death, my mind was too raw. Understanding that others feel the hurt and pain has made me feel able to start processing life again.
Life is not over, is one phrase which I needed to hear.

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Scarily accurate; how comforting

No author has ever been so scarily able to enter my mind and articulate my feelings on the pain of loss.

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A look inside the mode of a wonderful Auther

A real in depth, honest laid bare experience of a true literary Genius,

This view of grief resonated so well with me, as I had experienced a modocom of the same when I lost my partner over 20 years ago.

Whilst I would not wish this kind of grief on anyone, I would suggest that this is a must read for any who have already had the experience, or those seeking to work with those who grieve such as clergy or chaplains.

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Makes me feel like I'm not alone in this

It's like Lewis put all of my thoughts into one little cohesive and intelligible book. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has thought this way and I'm grateful that God gifted Lewis in such a beautiful way

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Grief- is just like this

I have experienced a major loss recently. This book articulates it so well. The early stages of grief. I have found it comforting to hear my thoughts and experiences via this Audiobook.

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  • James
  • 26-11-11

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.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 01-03-06

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.

41 people found this helpful

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  • John A. M. Darnell
  • 12-11-12

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.

26 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 23-07-13

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.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 19-12-11

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.

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.

11 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 26-11-11

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.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Dallas Nash
  • 30-01-09

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.

23 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 06-11-12

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Roslyn Strohm
  • 11-12-12

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.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 30-01-10

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.

14 people found this helpful