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Yellow Leaves: A Miscellany Hardcover – June 16, 2008
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A promising literary light whose works have attracted the attention of even New York's inner circle, Buechner dared to move further and further along his spiritual journey. He admits that his ordination as a Presbyterian minister was a terrible career move for a serious writer. He did it anyway. And, he's not easily categorized as a "Christian writer," either. His memoirs with titles like "Telling Secrets" through "The Longing for Home" are almost impossible to classify with our oh-so-easy labels of "evangelical" or "emergent," "progressive" or "conservative." He wrote them, anyway, and they found a loyal audience of thousands. Over time, his books have formed one the great spiritual reflections on life in turn-of-the-millennium America.
A clear theme emerges in these more than 30 volumes of memoir, fiction and nonfiction - a clear character to the relationship Buechner has been building with us. His overarching theology of writing goes something like this: Fundamentally, he argues in one book after another, we tell our stories because we have a deep yearning to participate in a far greater story. Whatever terrible secrets we think we are concealing, we soon discover that they weave themselves into a far, far larger narrative. And, in telling those stories, ultimately, we find ourselves in a community not only with other storytellers, but with the ultimate Storyteller.
That's why you should buy and read "Yellow Leaves." If you flip through it in a bookstore, you might mistake this slim volume for a late-in-life after thought. You would be mistaken. Within these 133 pages are some of the "yellow leaves" left toward the end of the season - vividly hanging from the limbs in Buechner's garden.Read more ›
the beek (ah, that's my little pet name for him) hasn't written a full length book in a while. and, as he writes in the forward of this collection, he guesses that ability has left him (i sure hope that isn't true). in the mean time, buechner says he could pull together a collection of essays, scraps of fiction, poems, and family memories, with a sprinkling of faith and church thrown in. somehow, it works.
the best parts of this collection, in my opinion, are the first few pieces -- little memoirs about family members (buechner's mom and brother-in-law, in particular). the whole thing is a bit voyeuristic, looking into a period of time and slice of society that is not my own. buechner comes from east coast, private school, intelligencia, with old money thrown in (buechner's wife is heir to the merck fortune, and his own family, while experiencing some rough times during the depression, did pretty well).
reading often felt a bit like sitting with mr. b in an old but fancy sitting room, somewhere in an old money neighborhood in new england, listening to him tell stories while sipping tea. with milk.
it's a quick read, really, but just lovely. intimate and brilliant.
This reminds me a lot of The Yellow Leaves. The character outlines are crisp. Buechner then allows the reader to fill in the colors and shades in a way that reflects the reader's perceptions and experience. It is a tricky, but wonderful technique when it is successful. Buechner is usually successful, especially in his poetry which completes the volume. I recommend reading this book slowly and savoring the stories. Let the wash over you and apply your own colors.
Obviously keenly aware of his own mortality, the author seems to pay scant attention to its implications either for his own life or that of the reader. Previously he wrote two brief autobiographical sketches that were compelling and of universal interest. While this book alludes to specific details of his life, it employs them for paltry purposes. For example, his long ago Christmas Eve visit to St Peter's once made a compelling sermon illustration, but repeated here, it seems rather limp and purposeless. In fact, by book's end I was unclear what motivated Mr Buechner to publish it. It is neither a travelogue nor a literary piece, but merely a loosely constructed narrative of an individual's experiences, some of which are quite unremarkable.
In the end, I found myself harboring the same hungers with which I began. With the Israelites of old, I found myself asking, "Is there any word from the Lord?" If not, perhaps there are whimsical scraps which could ignite intellectual curiosity or sober reflection.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another wonderful book by Fredrick Buechner. I have enjoyed all of his books that I have readPublished 10 months ago by Marcy
I had heard of Buechner but never read his work. Our Sunday morning adult education was looking for short "non intense" pieces for a change. So I ordered. Read morePublished on June 6, 2013 by Juaney
The Yellow Leaves is a miscellany of stories from Frederick Buechner. His musings range from Presidents that he has known to his grandmother to Charles Dickens. Read morePublished on December 15, 2008 by Scandalous Sanity