Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Severe Mercy

I just finished a book called "A Severe Mercy," by Sheldon Vanauken. It's a bit hard for me to sum up, as any synopsis seems trite in the case of this book. It is autobiographical- the story of Sheldon and the life he shared with his wife Jean, (who is nicknamed "Davy" after her maiden name, Davis) and their journey to faith in Christ. Their lives collectively spanned much of the 20th century, and he is an amazing story teller, which makes it a great read for people who enjoy history. They also knew the scholar and author C.S. Lewis, and the book contains 18 letters from him to them, which gives an interesting side profile for Lewis fans.

But none of these things by themselves made the book great; the whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts that it was more of an experience for me than a simple story. Vanauken is real and honest, and has a meticulous (and wonderful) knack for details that allows you to feel as if you are literally observing their lives with them.

The book was published in the 70's, so you can probably find it at a used book store or online at Amazon for a few dollars. If your experience is like mine, you'll be hard pressed to think of anything else you should have spent the cash on.

No comments: