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By C. S. Lewis

During this vintage trial of religion, C. S. Lewis probes the basic problems with lifestyles and demise, and summons those that grieve to sincere mourning and wish in the middle of loss.

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Nesbit, Sir Walter Scott, and perhaps Rudyard Kipling were the exemplars of the standards with which Jack was indoctrinated as a young man. My mother, on the other hand, could not have come from a background more divergent from his. The daughter of two lower-middle-class Jewish second-generation immigrants, her father of Ukrainian, her mother of Polish origins, she was born and brought up in the Bronx in New York City. The only striking similarities to be found in the comparison of their early developments were that they were both possessed of truly amazing intelligence combined with academic talent and eidetic memory.

But I find that this question, however important it may be in itself, is not after all very important in relation to grief. Suppose that the earthly lives she and I shared for a few years are in reality only the basis for, or prelude to, or earthly appearance of, two unimaginable, supercosmic, eternal somethings. Those somethings could be pictured as spheres or globes. Where the plane of Nature cuts through them—that is, in earthly life—they appear as two circles (circles are slices of spheres).

They both came to Christ via the long and difficult road which leads from Atheism, to Agnosticism, and thence by way of Theism finally to Christianity, and they both enjoyed remarkable success in their university student careers. Jack’s was interrupted by his duty to his country in the First World War, and Mother’s by political activism and marriage. Much has been written, both fictional and factual (sometimes one masquerading as the other) concerning their lives and their meeting and marriage, but the most important part of the story pertaining to this book is simply a recognition of the great love that grew between them until it was an almost visible incandescence.

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