On the Road with the Archangel

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9780060611255: On the Road with the Archangel

One of the brightest lights in late-twentieth-century literature, Frederick Buechner has published more than twenty-five works of fiction and nonfiction that continue to dazzle critics and readers alike, adding continuously to the ranks of his fiercely loyal following. On the Road with the Archangel is sure to continue this tradition with its powerful blend of humor, artistry, and insight into the nature of the human and the divine.

Inspired by events in the apocryphal Book of Tobit, from the second century B.C., this is the magical tale of two families brought together, as no mere coincidence, by the devilishly clever archangel Raphael. One is the family of Tobit, a virtuous man who can no longer support his wife and son because of Raguel, the quiet, devoted father of Sarah whose pact with the demon Asmodeus has left her life in tragic shambles.

Assuming human form, Raphael appears before Tabias, Tobit's devoted son, to help him retrieve his father's fortune hidden in a faraway city. Together, they embark on a miraculous journey in search of the answers to both families' prayers--a journey that is made challenging and delightful by Rapheal's artful efficiency.

On the Road with the Archangel is a masterful combination of fluid writing, lyrical storytelling, and ancient truth blended with modern wisdom. And beneath it all lies a subtle, glowing meditation on the nature of the Holy.

Hailed as "one of our most original storytellers" (USA Today), Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Frederick Buechner has written an extraordinary new novel that shines with the mystery and wonder of the divine. Drawn from the ancient apocryphal Book of Tobit, On the Road with the Archangel unravels the tale of a eccentric blind father and his somewhat bumbling song who journeys to seek his family's lost treasure. Narrated by the wry and resourceful archangel Raphael, Buencher's tale is a pure delight, alive with vivid characters, delightful adventures and wondrous revelations.

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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.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A fable from one of the few writers of Christian fiction to publish in the mainstream press, more recently known for his ongoing spiritual autobiography, The Sacred Journey (1982), Now and Then (1983), and Telling Secrets (1991). Buechner's fable is based on the apocryphal book of Tobit, an account of early Judaism from the second century b.c., when the Jews were an enslaved people. Raphael, one of the seven archangels, narrates Buechner's gentle story with humor and frequent asides about the nature of the Holy One. Raphael's task is to gather up prayers and carry them to God, then carry replies back if replies must be made. This results in some extraordinary passages: the prayer of a dog, for instance, to better please his master, and that of a gigantic fish, in gratitude for the mud and weeds around him. But two prayers in particular form the basis for Raphael's sojourn on Earth--and for Buechner's story. A young woman, Sarah, loves her father so dearly that she doesn't want to be married, and summons a demon who, on her seven wedding nights, kills each of seven bridegrooms. But Sarah is so filled with guilt over these deaths that she prays to God to be killed. Meanwhile, a poor blind man, Tobit, also prays for death, to relieve his miseries and to allow his family to resume normal life. He enjoins his son to undertake a perilous journey both to retrieve a fortune and to find a wife. The son, the amiable, less-than-brilliant Tobias, dutifully starts off. Raphael then joins him, securing the fortune and helping Tobias to court Sarah, devising antidotes both for demons and for the blindness of Tobit. Buechner, a Presbyterian minister, emphasizes the goodness of God, playing down suffering, playing up faith. A slight tale, though often quite charming. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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