Thursday, May 15, 2008


A SEVERE MERCY, by Sheldon Vanauken (Harper and Row -1977) , is available in paperback more likely as a testament to the devotion of it's fans than any outpouring of mainstream readership. It is simply the most extraordinary real-life love story perhaps ever told.

Vanauken not only shares his most personal reminiscences of meeting and living his life with his precious DAVY, his devotion was so immediate and complete at first it might even be annoying. He shares his personal letters about DAVY with C.S. Lewis - who had never known romance-laced love until his encounter with Joy Davidman rather late in life. The exchange between these two men about their lives, love, and devotion to their women is breathtakingly at odds with any and all things one might ever suppose could come from writers today. Vanauken concedes:

that there were two intertwined strands in my Maytime thinking, the earlier one, beginning with the Illunination of the Past, having to do with time and eternity, and the later one begun by Lewis'(s)May letter , having to do with the death of love and with mercy. pg.208.

For those in the Maytime of life, whether defined as spring or old age reflections on earlier times, A Severe Mercy is an opportunity missed if you do not consider this book's meaning. Truly, read it and weep.

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