C. S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences: New Edition by James T. Como
The book is a collection of essays. People who knew Lewis remember him, from the guy who drove him around, to his personal doctor (and friend and Inkling, and blustery good-fellow who fitted him out with a catheter that was not quite the best), his colleagues and acquaintances.
The collection of course contains God’s plenty. These are the memories of people who sat with him in a car, went with him on vacation, could tell us how he prayed at train stations and read his Bible in the evening before supper. What is strange is the amount of criticism in it. Good criticism, but criticism nonetheless.
There was a lot of debate, a lot of exchanging ideas in the life of Lewis, and many of the people that remember him in this volume continue some of the debates. Alan Bede Griffiths has some penetrating criticisms to make (he’s skeptical of ‘the personal heresy’), and another curiously critical essay is that of John Wain. Griffiths brings up some inconsistencies in Lewises attitude toward Catholics. Many of Lewises friends were, but his attitude toward them was peculiar. John Wain seems to have more criticisms than fond recollections, though he adds a few of those. Perhaps Wain’s is anomalous.
Certainly, you go from the unpolished and sometimes maudlin essay of the bloke who drove Lewis around, to the too-polished and sometimes byzantine essay of Austin Farrer. But you get it all: the blokes he stayed up late talking to, the Americans who met him once or twice, and poor Walter Hooper’s tediously thorough historical account of the Socratic which is the only interminable essay in the collection.
Worth having, if you’re after a better understanding of C.S. Lewis.