Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In her beautifully written spiritual memoir Surprised by Oxford, Carolyn Weber makes us privy to three romances.
She takes us with her as she falls in love with Oxford—the city and the school.
We experience the ups and downs of her relationship with TDH (tall, dark and handsome) which begins when he patiently answers the many questions of this atheistic Canadian scholarship student. Along the way he poses a few questions of his own.
Finally, we follow “Caro’s” meandering journey toward Jesus, from sneaking into the back of a cathedral to read a pew Bible, to a public baptism in the Thames River.
Weber’s literary background makes this a book rich in quotes and allusions to literature classics like John Donne and George Herbert. But she’s no cultural recluse and so pop culture wisdom, like U2 lyrics, find a place as well.
Her keen intelligence combined with feminist leanings informs and directs the apologetic narrative as she grapples with questions she needs to have answered before she will put her faith in any dogma or deity.
Her authenticity and warm spirit shine through all over the place as she recounts memories of life in her Canadian home and Oxford dorm conversations, pub nights, and outings with fellow students and professors.
I found Surprised by Oxford an altogether enjoyable read and am thrilled that it won the Grace Irwin Prize as the best Canadian Christian book published in 2013.
Surprised by Oxford is part of my own Kindle collection
6 thoughts on “Surprised by Oxford – review”
Violet, thank you for this interesting review of an intriguing story. I should hope to read this book, some day. I’ve visited Oxford several times (my sister and her husband lived there for 40 years). ~~+~~
Thank you Peter! Your familiarity with the city would add to your enjoyment of the book I think. It sure made me want to visit.
I hope you get there one o’ these days.
Now that my relatives no longer live there, I rather doubt whether I’ll ever visit Oxford again. A fascinating historic and architecturally interesting place. ~~+~~
A voice for the past, Violet, about this post of your from a year or so ago. I had the delightful privilege of meeting Carolyn Weber last month. She was guest speaker at an even and I, with my wife, was to provide some vocal and instrumental music. We exchanged books (a copy of my “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart” and her “Holy is the Day . . . Living in the Gift of the Present.”
We learned that her Oxford University College was the same one that my brother-in-law was head chef, at that time. (He retired about 18 years ago.) ~~+~~
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Hmm, Violet, I see I have a bunch of typos and poor construction in my comment of this afternoon. I should have checked it before clicking on post.
However, I wish for you every blessing, with continued success in your writing. ~~+~~
Thanks, Peter… Your message comes through beautifully. What a lovely surprise to find mutual Oxford connections with Caro! I wish you well with your book too. I must look into picking up a copy!