cover image Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir

Surprised by Oxford: A Memoir

Carolyn Weber. Thomas Nelson, $16.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-8499-4611-0

Following in the footsteps of C.S. Lewis, another Oxonian famously surprised by joy, Weber chronicles her encounters with God and Jesus while studying at Oxford University, in an honest and earnest tale structured around the university's trimester school year. Her narrative bares not only her internal conflicts during her time in England, but also her family life and how it shaped her distrust of religion as she grew up. The tale of her coming to Christianity from an intellectual agnosticism is woven with poetry and song lyrics that punctuate and, at times, encapsulate key moments of her study and discovery. The metaphors and allusions don't make the text inaccessibly erudite, but instead illustrate the beauty and struggle of her conversion. Some readers might question the length and apparent happenstance of some of the events included, while others will allow the professor of Romantic literature her poetic license, and enjoy the prose ride in the city of dreaming spires. (Aug.)