Listen free for 30 days

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £8.49

Buy Now for £8.49

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

For many years an atheist, C. S. Lewis vividly describes the spiritual quest that convinced him of the truth and reality of Christianity, in his famous autobiography.

"In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God...perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." Thus Lewis describes memorably the crisis of his conversion.

Surprised by Joy reveals both that crisis and its momentous conclusion that would determine the shape of Lewis' entire life.

©1955 C. S. Lewis Pte Ltd (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic reviews

"He is admirably equipped to write spiritual autobiography for the plain man, for his outstanding gift is clarity. You can take it at two levels, as straight autobiography, or as a kind of spiritual thriller, a detective's probing of clue and motive that led up to his return to the Christianity he had lost in childhood." (Isabel Quigley, Sunday Times)

What listeners say about Surprised by Joy

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    125
  • 4 Stars
    26
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    116
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    99
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Joy ful surprise

Now that I come to write this review i find i can't remember how i found this book or why I decided to read it. I am glad that I did and I will again. At times it was a little difficult, not the writing but following a description of a time and class i know nothing about. The quotes in german,french,Latin and Greek although lost on me, didn't really spoil the story. I feel the narrator a perfect choice, his voice and tone are suitable to the era, also his emotion in the reading at times made me feel i was listening to an old radio broadcast of c.s. Lewis himself. A book I'll keep in my library to listen again and again to find the parts i missed this time.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

impossible to put down, captivating, illuminating. i want to listen to it over again straight away.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A genuine pleasure to read .

CS Lewis' books are a genuine pleasure to read and this reader is simply outstanding. Highly recommended.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Hoped for more


Appears that a boyhood obsession with Animal Land becomes in adulthood Narnia. Not fully biography yet glimpses of background to Lewis becoming a Christian, not a Damascene event but logical reasoning I hoped for more on his Christian life a sense of rushed final chapters. Good narrative voice.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An insightful book into the conversion of CS Lewis

Great narrator, love CS Lewis! A really insightful book into his conversion to Christianity. Would recommend.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic reading, amazing work.

The reader was amazing and Lewis' story of himself was riveting and inspiring. Highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it very much

It is a long book but was must enjoyable.
The story is full of ups and downs.
Having not read any of C S Lewis before I am keen to read some more of his books

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good insight on a journey of discovery.

lewis' knowledge and intellect shines through the words. a personal journey and historical document in one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

An interesting read but weighted strangely

Interesting book and enjoy all of CS Lewis's so far, however I felt the first half dragged on and the second could have been drawn out longer than it was

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Essential – autobiography/spiritual classic

C.S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy is interesting from two perspectives: first, that it is the closest Lewis came to writing a conventional autobiography; second, that it recounts the process that led to Lewis becoming a Christian, and so is an invaluable aid to his philosophical and theological writings. Sometimes these two perspectives seem to be jostling for position: the earlier portion of the book deals with Lewis's childhood in great detail (including a painful account of his schooldays), while the more formal autobiography peters out in the book's second half. The spiritual theme is always present, but less so in the book's first part (for example, we learn less than might be expected about Lewis's teenage shift to atheism). Perhaps the reason for this is the connecting thread: Lewis's concept of 'joy'. 'Joy' is an Augustinian longing that manifests itself first in creative fantasy, then in the Nordic myths before finally finding its true aim. Perhaps for this reason, the book comes to an abrupt halt once the pursuit of 'joy' brings Lewis back to the Christian faith. While Surprised by Joy may be somewhat unusual in form, it is no less valuable for anyone interested in C.S. Lewis. Peter Noble narrates ably, and manages passages of French with skill. His performance would have benefited from consultation with an Irish person, however, as his pronunciation of (admittedly difficult) Irish names – Cú Chulainn, Donegal – is confusingly wide of the mark.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kerry
  • Kerry
  • 22-03-17

A lot to digest

I enjoyed listening to tge story of Lewis's conversion and I thought it was well read. But I found it difficult to digest in this format. I would have got more out of it if I had read it myself.