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Extended Audio Sample Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life, by C. S. Lewis Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00006601095782 out of 54.00006601095782 out of 54.00006601095782 out of 54.00006601095782 out of 54.00006601095782 out of 5 4.00 (15,149 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: C. S. Lewis Narrator: Ralph Cosham Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the closest thing we have to an autobiography, C. S. Lewis, an unfailingly honest and perceptive observer of self, here shares the story of his personal spiritual journey. With characteristic candor and insight, he describes how his “search for joy” led him from the conventional Christianity of his childhood to a youthful atheism, and finally back to an assured Christianity compatible with his formidable intellect. With no pretense, Lewis describes his early schooldays, his experiences in the trenches during World War I, and his undergraduate life at Oxford, where he reasoned his way to God. Lewis’ “surprise” holds continuing interest not only for admirers of his work but for any modern seeker concerned with the compatibility of the rational and the spiritual.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fascinating.”


  • “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.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “Anyone approaching this book as a study in the psychology of conversion will find the greatest interest in the dual paths—intellectual and intuitive—which converged at last. But the casual reader looking merely for an enjoyable book will equally value many other parts.”

    Saturday Review

  • “Since St. Augustine’s meticulous analysis of what was the light, what the color, what the sound, the smell, the touch, what, indeed, was the good he loved when he loved God, few writers have taken the trouble to distinguish, with such clarity of psychological insight, the nature and the degree of attraction, the nature and the degree of satisfaction, apprehended by man.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Julia | 12/9/2016

    " What an awesome book to listen too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Paul Dinger | 2/11/2014

    " I am a fan of C. S. Lewis, not just his theological works but also his criticism and fiction. I didn't like this book. I found the thoughts in it confusing and the theology hard to follow. Especially his conversion experience which may be one of the driest things Lewis has ever written. I think he had written, in a sense, this book his entire life. So much so that when time came to write it, well he didn't have much left to say. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Nate | 2/9/2014

    " The book fails as an autobiography, which is just as well since it was never intended to fulfill such a role. When read for what it truly is, Surprised by Joy makes for a highly entertaining (and, more often than not, thought-provoking) read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Steffi Greeff | 2/7/2014

    " I prefer the last 5 chapters to the beginning of the book: it took a bit long to get to the point. But the last few chapters were really good and well written. This book differs from his other books (like Mere Christianity, The problem of pain, etc) in the sense that it is not written as systematically - Lewis tends to trail off from the point of discussion quite often; it's like he just wrote down everything he thought of. Some of the quote are for example in Latin, Greek or German, and he does not even bother to translate. That, to me, made the book quite interesting and different from most other books (that tend to explain itself in a systematic way)that I've read. Loved all the references to books and authors - his passion for literature is contagious! "

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