Speak What We Feel: Not What We Ought to Say (Buechner, Frederick)

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9780062517531: Speak What We Feel: Not What We Ought to Say (Buechner, Frederick)

Four Unexpected Prophets Who Shine Light into the Darkness

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Review:

Great literature is like a spiritual informant, helping readers derive meaning out of the best of times and the worst of times. In Speak What We Feel, novelist and preacher Frederick Buechner pays homage to the worst of times, examining the life and writings of four esteemed writers and how they each came to terms with despair on the page. The title, Speak What We Feel, alludes to the bravery of William Shakespeare, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, and G.K. Chesterton--all of whom opened the veins to their hearts and let their emotions bleed upon the page. "Vein-opening writers are putting not just themselves into their books, but themselves at their nakedest and most vulnerable," writes Buechner. Not all writers do it all the time, he notes, and many writers never do it at all. "But for the four writers these pages are about, each did it at least once, and that is the most important single thing they have in common."

Writers who are fascinated with the process of creativity will find these essays particularly satisfying, especially the musings on Mark Twain, in which Buechner explains the internal angst that brought Huck Finn to life. Be warned that readers will probably glean more pleasure from this lovingly rendered (but occasionally dry) book if they already possess an appreciation and familiarity with the works of the writers. --Gail Hudson

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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