Yours, Jack: The Inspirational Letters of CS Lewis (book, Paul Ford, 2008)
From Death Ray 15.
TWO AND A HALF STARS
Paul Ford (ed)/£12.99
CS Lewis writes to his family and friends, about God, mostly.
As could be expected from a man who was one of the UK’s most celebrated Christian converts, a lot of Lewis’ letters were on the subject of faith. Whether it was the intention of the editor or if Lewis did write almost exclusively on the subject of God is unclear; these letters are, after all, selected from a lifetime of epistles. The man presented here is, first and foremost, concerned with God, his correspondents looking for support, discussing matters religious, or debating with Lewis his theology. Their letters are, of course, not included.
The period covers over forty years, from fragments from his later teenage years to letters written very shortly before his death, though naturally the former are few and far between. Enough though, to give us a picture of a cocky teenager who develops from avowed atheist to old don, dispensing an endless stream of layman’s pastoral care. There’s also plenty of musing on the differences between men and women, illness, friendship and death, even cats. Lewis comes across as you’d expect – warm, generous and wise, though there is in the certitude with which he offers his advice in his later letters, something of an echo of the cast-iron confidence of the youth he once was. These are opinions one would have to draw oneself, there’s nothing in here, not event the shortest precis of his life, other than the letters. And that’s where it fails, it’s not comprehensive enough to be a useful tool to the researcher, and not broad enough to enlighten a non-expert. A reasonable reference that needs to be digested alongside a good biography.