The most thorough and extensive investigation ever written on the much-beloved writer, The Book of Buechner explores the ways in which Frederick Buechner’s writing, particularly his fiction, presents the possibilities of grace in the midst of the ambiguities of human existence and introduces themes of Christian faith. Both long-time readers and neophytes seeking a guide through his writings will delight in the illuminating analysis Dale Brown has to offer. Intelligent and gratifying, The Book of Buechner is a much overdue literary journey through one of the most significant American writers of the last fifty years.“Buechner is great—boisterously physical—and it’s high time someone took on his whole work in a book.” —Annie Dillard, author of The Writing Life and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
“This book is, quite simply, a remarkable accomplishment. Readers could not ask for a better engagement with the life and work of one of America’s most important, beloved, and versatile writers. Dale Brown probes, questions, and illuminates. Perhaps most important, he will doubtless inspire readers to return to their shelves and pull down their favorite Buechner volumes once again.” —Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God and Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity
“Buechner is ‘indirectly’ religious from his first novel to his most recent. His ponderings on the possibility of grace, which he offers with neither sentimentality nor simplicity, may explain both the chariness of the literary intelligentsia toward him as well as the increasing embrace of religious audiences now coming to him as they once came to [C. S. Lewis]. Buechner’s attention to the ambiguities of human existence is the persistent chord echoing throughout his work, and the infrequent glimmering of hope is the persistent conclusion. Doubt and darkness stalk all of his major characters, and their emergence into occasional light is laced with enormous struggle. Such thematic preoccupations, when combined with Buechner’s increasingly lucid and engaging style, suggest that Buechner belongs in any catalog of significant contemporary writers. In discussions of important voices in the last 50 years of American literature, Buechner deserves a place at the table.”—Dale Brown
Born in 1926, Frederick Buechner received a Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and established and taught for nine years in the religious program at Philip Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Afterward becoming a full-time writer and speaker, he published largely nonfiction works including The Alphabet of Grace, Telling the Truth, Wishful Thinking, The Faces of Jesus, and Peculiar Treasures. Then he published perhaps his most-loved The Book of Bebb—four novels featuring the con man evangelist Leo Bebb. Thereafter came more fiction, Godric and Brendan, both of which featured Christian saints. His recent works include The Longing for Home, On the Road with the Archangel, The Storm, and Speak What We Feel.
Buechner received The National Book Award in 1952, the O. Henry Award in 1955, and the Critic’s Choice Books Award in 1990. In 1981, Godric was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.