The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found

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9780062516381: The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found

From critically acclaimed author and Pulitzer Prize runner-up Frederick Buechner comes another powerfully honest memoir, The Eyes of the Heart. Full of poinant insights into his most personal relationships, this moving account traces how the author was shaped as much by his family's secrets as by its celebrations. Within the innermost chambers of his consciousness, Buechner, in his characteristically self-searching style, explores the mysteries and truths behind his deepest connections to family, friends, and mentors. Extraordinarily moving, this memoir follows not chronology but the converging paths of Buechner's imagination and memory.

Buechner invites us into his library-his own Magic Kingdom, Surrounded by his beloved books and treasures, we discover how they serve as the gateway to Buechner's mind and heart. He draws the reader into his recollections, moving seamlessly from reminiscence to contemplation. Buechner recounts events such as the tragic suicide of his father and its continual fallout on his life, intimate and little-known details about his deep friendship with the late poet James Merrill, and his ongoing struggle to understand the complexities of his relationship to his mother.

This cast of characters comprised of Buechner's relatives and loved ones is brought to vibrant life by his peerless writing and capacity to probe the depths of his own consciousness. Buechner visits his past with an honest eye and a heart open to the most painful and life-altering of realizations. heartbreaking and enlightening, The Eyes of the Heart is a treasure for any who have ever pondered the meaning and mystery of their own past.

As "one of our finest writers," according to author Annie Dillard, Frederick Buechner provides yet another chapter in the tale of his life in this gripping memoir tracing the complicated roots and path of his inner life and family, with their multitude of intersections." The Eyes of the Heart stands as a touching testimonial to the significance of kinship to the author as well as to the legions of readers who have come to regard him as one of their own.

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Review:

Unlike some Christian writers, Frederick Buechner has never claimed to have a ringside seat to the truth. "I have seen with the eyes of the heart the great hope to which he has called us," he writes, "but out of shyness ... I rarely speak of it, and in my books I have tended to write about it for the most part only obliquely." This very reticence, however, is one of the qualities that most endears this writer to his fans: we trust him all the more because he does not deny his own doubts. A novelist, preacher, and essayist beloved by the thoughtful (and the doubtful), this new memoir follows the quiet and yet probing style of the three that precede it (Now and Then, Telling Secrets, and The Sacred Journey). Here, as he moves into his 70s, Buechner explores more deeply and with greater personal poignancy his familiar subjects of loss, death, and faith, acknowledging that these three issues still revolve around his own father's suicide when Buechner was 9. Including delightful and honest reminiscences of his childhood friend, the great poet James Merrill, along with rich and loving memories of family members and books, Buechner writes the way many of us feel--with moments of glory that shoot through the grayness. Those who know his earlier work will not be disappointed by this continuation of the journey; those new to him will find a suitable entry point to the path right here. --Doug Thorpe

About the Author:

Frederick Buechner, author of more than thirty works of fiction and nonfiction, is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent work is Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith.

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