Old fans and new readers alike will be delighted with Pulitzer Prize nominee Frederick Buechner's latest book, The Eyes of the Heart. In this extraordinarily moving and beautifully written memoir, Buechner reflects on life, faith, friendship, and family. He speaks with the ghosts of those he has loved and lost to help make sense of his life and of whatever life may lie beyond this one. Buechner writes candidly of his privileged but troubled childhood, his lifelong search for the essence of his father who killed himself at age 38, and of his stormy relationship with his self-centered and distant mother.
Now entering his 70th year, Buechner also deals with the losses that inevitably accompany old age in his case, the deaths of his only brother and his old friend, poet James Merrill.
Among the joys of later life he counts his grandchildren, and in one touching scene, describes the first time he saw his young grandson, who was living in Switzerland. Dinah, his mother, had him in her arms as she came down the stairs to show him to us, and I went up the stairs to meet him halfway. He had flaxen hair and serene blue eyes. He looked straight at me and gave a faint smile. I thought of how, only a few months old, he was on his way down into the world and I, sixty-seven years old, on my way out of it. I thought of how when I am out of it altogether, he will carry my genes into times and places beyond my power to imagine and how he was now one of the few for whom such is the mystery of kinship I would lay down my life in ten seconds flat if it took that to save his. Though very personal, Buechner's story is universal and his viewpoint optimistic. Even in the pain that is part of the human condition, there is an underlying joy and love and the belief that, ultimately, no one is ever lost. Nothing is lost. This poignant, insightful work is sure to resonate in the heart of every reader.
Helen Harrison writes from Little Rock, Arkansas.