Celebrated novelist and Presbyterian minister Buechner says that, at 80, he is unable to write whole books. “Maybe after more than thirty of them, the well has at last run dry.” Or maybe he no longer has the energy. So what we have here are essays, a story, reminiscences, family-themed poems, and a scene from a novel. Much of this is elegiac: remembrances of family members now gone and famous people, such as the first president Buechner met, FDR, in 1932, when the pol was about 50, the author about 6. As always with Buechner, the magic is in the details as he remembers the sights, sounds, and scents of particular times and places. His comments are invariably insightful, compassionate, and poignant, such as his recalling that, even at 6, he realized that Roosevelt would “crumble to the ground” on his “flimsy” legs unless aided by the two men at his side. Other memorable memories include the first funeral he conducted; corresponding with editor and novelist William Maxwell, whom he greatly admired; and first meeting Maya Angelou. --June Sawyers
About the Author
is the author of more than thirty works of fiction and non-fiction. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.