In brief vignettes Wolterstorff explores with a moving honesty and intensity, all the facets of his experience of this irreversible loss. Though he grieves "not as one who has no hope," he finds no comfort in the pious-sounding phrases that would diminish the malevolence of death.
The book is in one sense a narrative account of events--from the numbing telephone call on a sunny Sunday afternoon that tells of 25-year-old Eric's death in a mountain-climbing accident, to a graveside visit a year later. But the book is far more than narrative. Every event is an occasion for remembering, for meditating, for Job-like anguish in the struggle to accept and understand.
A profoundly faith-affirming book, Lament for a Son gives eloquent expression to a grief that is at once unique and universal--a grief for an individual, irreplaceable person. Though it is an intensely personal book, Wolterstorff decided to publish it, he says, "in the hope that it will be of help to some of those who find themselves with us in the company of mourners."
"A deeply moving account of how one man has learned to deal with pain."
"For the gift of this personal meditation, the Christian community should offer profound gratitude. Perhaps once or twice a year—in a good year—one reads a book so compelling, so essential, that one wishes to advise all friends, 'Here, please read this book. It's wonderful.' Simple and profound, Lament for a Son is such a book."
Church Times (U.K.)
"Nicholas Wolterstorff's account of his own grief for his 25-year-old son's death, like C. S. Lewis's book written after his wife's death, combines acute observation of personal, actual pain with a mind disciplined in academic theology."
"A book destined to become a classic. Artistically and theologically, this book gets high marks, for it discloses a suffering father marked by the wounds of loss, seeking redemptive power through the cross. . . Pastoral care applications for this book are immense. This is a book about hope and healing power revealed through pathos and suffering love. Lament for a Son is eloquent grief-work and is must reading for all pastors."
Henri J. M. Nouwen
"Lament for a Son is a simple, honest, and poignant expression of one man's grief, but it is more. By sharing the depths of his grief, not in trite phrases but honestly, Nicholas Wolterstorff helps open the floodgates for those who cannot articulate their pain. . . This little book is a true gift to those who grieve and those who, in love, reach out to comfort. Wolterstorff's words are, indeed, 'salve on our wounds.' Thank God he did not remain silent."
Journal of Psychology & Christianity
"This book is destined to become a classic, and in many ways is even better than C. S. Lewis's Grief Observed. . . It is a book of questions in the face of death, searching for how to go on, living without a loved one. . . He expresses both the evil of death and the face of God in and through death. It is a poem to life that expresses the numbness of death, the isolation of grief, the silence and yet suffering of God, finding meaning in the suffering. This is a book to read over and over and over."
"Wolterstorff, a well-known Christian philosopher, lost his 25-year-old son to a mountain climbing accident. His reflections in the wake of that tragedy are at times deeply personal, but always he expresses a prayerful anguish with which most bereaved parents will identify. Above all he refuses to turn from the 'demonic awfulness' of death and, as he moves faithfully through grief, discovers new meaning in the Beatitudes, together with a new understanding of a suffering God. Spiritually enriching and theologically substantive."
Martin E. Marty
"Read him, and again I say unto you, please read him."
"To tell yet another tale of grief is not news; telling it honestly and reflectively, however, is what elevates Nicholas Wolterstorff's Lament for a Son into that circle of books that surpass the telling and evoke affirmation from the reader. . . This is a book pastors ought to read. It is an inside-the-skin experience of grief. It is also a book pastors and church libraries ought to have, particularly to help parents who have lost children. I shared Lament for a Son with a grieving father, who commented, 'He said almost everything I had felt.' Those words are high praise for a guidebook to the valley of the shadow."
Walter Wangerin, Jr.
"Wolterstorff inquires as Job inquired. He is honest and utterly resistant to the cheap answers about death: finally, to any answers about death at all. . . He looks, without foolish giddiness or delusion, but in faith, to the day that Death and this death shall be overcome—and he takes his place beside all who suffer. . . A miracle."
"After a heart-wrenching tragedy—the death of his 25-year-old son—this father writes about the questions, the mourning, and the hope after his grieving. Lament for a Son will provoke tears—but healthy tears."