The Sacred Journey: A Memoir of Early Days

The Sacred JourneyBuechner captures his childhood, his father’s suicide, and his life leading to his decision to enter seminary, showing how God speaks to us every moment of every day.

“A singularly graceful synthesis of memoir and theological explanation… Entrancing… poetically rich.”–Washington Post Book World

“Fascinating … striking … a beautifully successful experiment.”–New York Times Book Review

“A candid self-portrait of a devout man.”–Philadelphia Inquirer

Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation

Now & ThenIn his second volume of memoirs, Buechner tells his story of finding vocation at seminary days and early ministry, and the evolution of his life as a writer.

“Strikes to the heart. … Unpreachy meditations on life and Christianity at its most profound.”–People Magazine

“Buechner writes better than almost anyone. … Deep within it, as we read, the sun shines and the constellations rove.”–James Merrill

“Buechner is graceful in story and insights.”–Los Angeles Times

“Buechner is a worthy member of the great prose stylists:  Pascal, Newman, and Merton, who have harnessed their art to a passionate religious faith.”–Louis Auchincloss

Telling Secrets

Telling SecretsThe third volume of Buechner’s memoirs explores his father’s alcohol abuse and traces the influence of secrets on his life as a son, father, husband, minister, and writer.

“Buechner speaks in a sensitive and quietly humorous voice as he describes crises in his life. … Uncommonly rewarding and inspirational.”–Publishers Weekly

“A meditation on the connection between knowing and sharing secrets and discovering the reality of a loving and merciful God.”–Chicago Tribune

“Buechner’s chronicling once again tells us something about what it means to be human.”–Christianity Today

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

The Eyes of the HeartThe fourth and most recent volume of Buechner’s memoirs addresses friendship and his most personal relationships as he explores the mysteries and truths behind his connections to family, friends, and mentors.

“Old friends and new readers alike will be delighted. … In this extraordinarily moving and beautifully written memoir, Buechner reflects on life, faith, friendship, and family.”–Bookpage

“In this deeply moving memoir, filled with mortality, gratitude, and joy, Buechner invites us to see (as he has seen) with the eyes of the heart.”–Marcus J. Borg, author of Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time

“Frederick Buechner is one of my favorite writers. The Eyes of the Heart is beautiful and wise, full of insight, charm, and tenderness.”–Anne Lamott

Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

Telling the Truth 2Buechner searches for the underlying power of the Gospels and how they reflect God’s relationship to humanity as reflected in literature both sacred and profane.

“You don’t have to be in the habit of going to church to listen to such a literary minister; you don’t have to be a believer to be moved by Mr. Buechner’s faith.”–John Irving

“When I forget the power of the word, I read Frederick Buechner. When I forget the deep relief of telling the truth, I read Frederick Buechner. When I forget to look for the holiness all around me, I read Frederick Buechner. When I forget why the gospel matters, I read Frederick Buechner.”–Barbara Brown Taylor

Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner

Listening to Your LifeA daily reader of inspirational quotes from more than thirty of Buechner’s works, including key passages from novels, sermons, essays, and letters.

“If Frederick Buechner subordinated his nature and chose to write on naughts and nothings, he would still exalt his readers. When he is in representative harmony and writes of the accessibility of God to humanity and of humanity’s agreement with its potential divinity, we, the readers, are lifted up, buoyed up, and promised wholeness. This book is meant to possess, and at the same time liberate, the heart. I’m happy to report it succeeds.”–Maya Angelou

Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC

Wishful Thinking 2Bridging from daily life to the language of God, the universe, and the human spirit, Buechner brings his faith, doubts, and laughter to theological wordplay making believers of us all.

“Thoughtful, spirited, entertaining…a dictionary for doubters and restless believers.”–Chicago Tribune

“Original, pungent and joyful.”–The Christian Century

“[Buechner] examines language about God and human life with immense perception, a great economy of words, and an engaging use of irony.”–Methodist Recorder

The Magnificent Defeat

The Magnificent DefeatBuechner’s lectures at a New England boarding school provide a platform for his examination of what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, the miracles of grace, and “the magnificent defeat” of the human soul of God.

“These are powerful sermons, designed for the skeptical and inquiring, no less than for the devout.”–Choice

“Combines high writing skill with a profound understanding of Christian essentials.”–New York Times Book Review

“One of today’s most powerful writers on religious themes here offers meditations on key passages of the Old and New Testaments that fuse “rhythmic style, rich imagery, forthright biblical exegesis [and] bring to mind the meditative work of J. B. Phillips and C. S. Lewis.”–Presbyterian Life

Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith

Beyond WordsBuechner’s witty and incisive daily devotional dictionary brings fresh perspective to sacred and ordinary words and Biblical characters, offering an enchanted vision of religious life.

“Combines high writing skill with a profound understanding of Christian essentials.”–New York Times Book Review

“Whether reading ‘Beyond Words’ makes for a happier, easier or more fulfilled life, I couldn’t say. This much I know—it does, at least, for the duration of time you’re reading it.”–Jeff Simon

“[A collection] that all preachers, teachers, and seekers will find themselves returning to again and again for spiritual inspiration.”–Spirituality and Health Magazine

The Alphabet of Grace

The Alphabet of Grace 2Buechner’s meditation on a single day of life and how the innermost mysteries interweave our personal, literary, and spiritual lives into a beautiful whole where the momentous becomes trivial and the trivial sacred and life-altering.

“A book by an experienced writer, a novelist, a poet, a clergyman. … The Alphabet of Grace is a small but beautiful whole, ordered by poetic structure.”–Madeleine L’Engle

“Frederick Buechner surprises and delights (and—very softly—teaches) us by giving some shape to apparently random experience by uttering it. ….  He has articulated what he sees with a freshness and clarity and energy that hails our stultified imaginations.”–The New York Times Book Review

Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons

Secrets in the DarkThis definitive collection of Buechner’s sermons reflects his exquisite gift for storytelling and his compassionate heart as he revitalizes belief and faith by embracing doubt and revealing the presence of God in the midst of his daily life.

“Brilliant…overflowing with images and questions and honesty and insights that will haunt you for days.”–Rob Bell

“In the beginning, we’re told, was the word. Every once in a while someone shows up on the planet who is word-obsessed and word-gifted; and the light and darkness get named again. In our day, that someone is Buechner.”–John Ortberg

“Buechner uses words with such transformative power that any comment on them is like the moon palely reflecting the sun.”–Walter Brueggemann

Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who

Peculiar TreasuresIn this second book of his popular lexical trilogy, Buechner profiles more than 125 of the Bible’s most holy and profane people—and one whale, bringing pivotal moments from scripture to life with his trademark lively and witty prose.

“A fresh perception of the biblical stories with razor-edged humor in such a manner as to bring them alive to modern readers.”–Theology Today

“The entries from Peculiar Treasures that got the most play…were no doubt those treating Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. Musicians like Michael Card and Daniel Amos wrote songs based on the humor and contemporary themes Buechner finds.”–W. Dale Brown, The Book of Buechner

Whistling in the Dark: A Doubter’s Dictionary

Whistling in the DarkIn a companion volume to Wishful Thinking, Buechner takes readers on a wry and thought-provoking jaunt through the spiritual terrain of our everyday language.

“Compelling and imaginative … uncovers bright patches of light and discloses wry kernels of wisdom and insight.”–Chicago Tribune

“Whistling in the Dark is not so much a book to be read as savored. Buechner’s reflections and reminiscences are by turns moving, provocative, or fascinating—but always insightful. This could be called ‘devotional literature’ at its best. … I find myself wanting to have it within easy reach for frequent treats of stimulation and fresh perspective.”–J. Randall Nichols, Princeton Theological Seminary

A Room Called Remember

A Room Called RememberHome is where family begins and in this volume Buechner explores faith, love, and family through private musings and public sermons.

“[Buechner is] one of our most original storytellers. … [His] reader … feels as if he is being addressed in an extraordinarily personal way. Intimate, dignified and wryly humorous, Buechner’s voice turns us into listeners.”–USA Today

“No one is better than Buechner at intertwining the stuff of faith, the gritty details of life ‘in the real world,’ and the witness of personal quest.”–Presbyterian Survey

“[Buechner’s] magnificent command of the English language will enlighten and enthrall.”–Bookstore Journal

The Faces of Jesus: A Life Story

The Faces of JesusBuechner revisits the ancient stories of the Gospels, presenting a warm-hearted introduction to different aspects of Jesus—the person, the God, the teacher, the wanderer, the man of suffering—and reminding us to seek to see Jesus afresh is to be changed and challenged every day.

“Reading this book is akin to praying with religious art, with Rev. Buechner as a reverent guide to the artist’s intent.”–Rachelle Linner, The Catholic Review Online

“[Y]et another of Mr. Buechner’s poetic musings; this time he puts a human face on the gospel events, one that mirrors our own. … Clearly he has a way with words. He makes familiar New Testament encounters refreshingly vivid, drawing the reader in so closely that we must either gaze in awe or avoid meeting Jesus’ eyes altogether.”–Dallas New Religion

The Hungering Dark

The Hungering DarkBuechner reflects on the core ideas of truth, doubt, good, and evil in a complicated world and the hunger to find and experience God.

“Combines an acute sensitivity to the biblical word with a keen awareness for what is relevant for his contemporaries.”–Choice

“Frederick Buechner is a poet and master of English prose.”–The Living Church

“This pastor-novelist-essayist is a master of graceful writing.”–Concern

“Frederick Buechner’s style is ostensibly prose, yet so compressed are the ideas and so vivid are the images that the writing often seems to be free verse.”–Presbyterian Life

Speak What We Feel (Not What We Ought to Say)

Speak What We FeelBuechner shares the stage with four of his heroes—William Shakespeare, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, and G.K. Chesterton—examining how they each came to terms with despair in their lives, on the page, and how each of them found faith by facing his vulnerabilities.

“Frederick Buechner is a poet and master of English prose.”–The Living Church

“A hauntingly terrifying and beautiful book about the depths of human existence.”–Dallas Willard

“Serves to illuminate a path through the ambiguities and complexities of human life.”–Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Yellow Leaves

The Yellow LeavesReflecting upon his long life as a writer, Buechner contemplates transcendence and the presence of the divine in the midst of the commonplace activities of daily life.

“Before there was Rob Bell, Anne Lamott and Brian McLaren, there was—and still is—Frederick Buechner. Frederick Buechner was—and remains—a pioneer in spiritual memoir.”–David Crumm, Editor of

“This book is cause for rejoicing. Buechner’s remarkable way with words continues. From presidents to teachers, from famous folk to family, Buechner’s subjects become poignant portraits that bespeak his artful attentiveness. Ranging from memoir to short story, from book review to poetry, this book will be good company for longtime Buechner readers and a revelation to those just arriving.”–W. Dale Brown

The Longing for Home

The Longing for HomeFrom the day of our birth to our last breath, we live in one home or another, tragic or comic, happy or sad. In this volume, Buechner illuminates the search for our eternal home and meaning in our lives through friends, family, and loved ones.

“Journey on, Frederick Buechner. We need your stories to help us make sense of our own.”–New Oxford Review

“Extraordinarily personal…intimate, dignified, and wryly humorous.”–USA Today

“Buechner has articulated what he sees with a freshness and clarity and energy that hails our stultified imaginations.”–New York Times Book Review

The Clown in the Belfry

The Clown in the BelfryA collection of 14 eclectic pieces in which Buechner explores his iconoclastic views on faith and fiction, daily life, and what he believes God wishes the church to become.

“The Clown in the Belfry is an edifying and illuminating read. Turn your contemplation of it into a spiritual exercise, and you are bound to be surprised by joy.”–Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

“Frederick Buechner is without question one of the truly great writers of the 20th century and into the present. He is already being mentioned in the category of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.”–viaLibri

“Buechner defies the odds. His sermons read like wisdom literature.”–Jim Gordon


GodricBuechner’s first-person retelling of the life of British twelfth-century holy man and sinner Saint Godric of Finchale explores the nature of spirituality and turns upside down sin, spiritual yearning, fierce asceticism, and, ultimately, rebirth.

Pulitzer Prize Finalist

“A remarkable book. … [A] true work of art.”–Atlantic Monthly

“In the extraordinary figure of Godric, both stubborn outsider and true child of God, both worldly and unworldly, Frederick Buechner has found an ideal means of exploring the nature of spirituality. Godric is a living battleground where God fights it out with the world, the Flesh, and the Devil.”–London Times Literary Supplement


BrendanBuechner interweaves history and legend to build an evocative portrayal of the sixth-century Irish Saint Brendan and his life of sin and ultimate redemption.

Winner of the M.L.A. Christianity and Literature Book Award for Belles Lettres

“Strikingly convincing … sinewy and lyrical.”–The New York Times Book Review

“A lusty, bawdy, teeming, festooning, dancing marvel of a book. Within its crafty interlacings, we can read its buoyant meaning: that life, for all its woes, is essentially a comedy.”–The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“An artistic triumph.”–Publishers Weekly

The Son of Laughter

Son of LaughterBuechner uses the life of biblical patriarch Jacob to explore family betrayal, passion, and human frailty, all culminating in the discovery of faith and redemption.

“With profound intelligence, Buechner’s novel does what the finest, most appealing literature does:  It displays and illuminates the seemingly unrelated mysteries of human character and ultimate ideas.”–Annie Dillard, Boston Globe

“A masterpiece.”–National Catholic Reporter

“This is an extraordinary novel that demonstrates both the truth of fiction and Buechner’s superb ability to offer it.”–Christian Century

The Storm

The StormBased on an island like Bermuda and inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Buechner spins a magical-realism tale of love, betrayal, and redemption infused with humanity and informed by faith.

“A wonderfully human and satisfying meditative romance. A marvelous adaptation of Shakespeare—one of the best ever.”–Kirkus Reviews

“For all its charm and lilt, The Storm, like any among Buechner’s best novels, cannot be taken lightly.”–The San Diego Reader

“Like other fine books by Frederick Buechner, The Storm is highly original and delights and surprises from first page to last.”–George Garrett, author of Death of the Fox

The Book of Bebb

The Book of BebbBuechner’s outrageously witty and inspirational tetralogy chronicling the exploits of a charlatan evangelist and unlikely instrument of grace, Leo Bebb, and his Church of Holy Love, Inc.

“In the character of Leo Bebb, Buechner has created a wild and canny charlatan who might also be a genius.”–The Boston Globe

“The way Buechner writes is special and engaging—serious, comic, with a kind of reverent irreverence for his people and their lives.”–Publishers Weekly

“Buechner brings the reader to his knees, sometimes in laughter, sometimes in an astonishment very close to prayer, and at the best of times in a combination of both.”–The New York Times Book Review

On the Road with the Archangel

On the Road With the ArchangelDrawn from the ancient apocryphal Book of Tobit, this novel presents the tale of an eccentric blind father and his somewhat bumbling son who journeys with the devilishly clever archangel Raphael to seek his family’s lost treasure.

“It sings and dances, wealthy with laughter and deeply moving. Buechner is as good as we have.”–George Garrett, The Washington Post

“Buechner’s characteristic humor is here, along with the pithy insights that may become gems in sermons.”–W. Dale Brown, The Christian Century

“This clergyman can tell a story that has a theological dimension without sounding sanctimonious or trite, partly because his writing style is based on contemporary speech and partly because his turn of mind is ironic, unsentimental.”–The New York Times Book Review, Alfred Corn

The Christmas Tide

The Christmas TideA semi-autobiographical novel about Buechner’s family and their struggle to understand the suicide of Buechner’s father and the challenges of the Great Depression.

“This daring, graceful little book is a powerful profession of faith.”–Detroit Free Press

“Plainly told, gently nuanced, the story has appeal for those who believe in the healing power of memory.”–Publishers Weekly

“[He] has been one of our most celebrated storytellers.”–USA Today

The Final Beast

The Final BeastBuechner addresses assorted baggage of the human condition from sexual infidelity to aging, guilt, failure, and death through the life story of a clergyman who has lost his wife in a senseless accident and must now persevere for the sake of his children.

“This is a story that skates with daring skill and exuberant speed over the thin ice of potential blasphemy, sentimentality, and violence to emerge finally on the firm, smooth surface of honest faith and uproarious laughter.”–Katherine Gauss Jackson, Harper’s Magazine

“Here is the rarest of the rare in contemporary fiction:  a novel devoted to the celebration of faith and joy.”–Lee Whiston, United Church Herald

“Buechner has given us a beautifully written, sensitive novel in The Final Beast.”–The Episcopalian

A Long Day’s Dying

A Long Day's DyingBuechner’s acclaimed debut novel follows Tristram Bone—a rotund man of wealth and leisure but a failure with women—and Elizabeth Poor—a rich, charming, and beautiful widow—through a series of racy encounters with friends and family, affairs both real and imagined, gossip, jealousy, and innuendo.

“Written with remarkable virtuosity.”–Saturday Review of Literature

“A study in nuance of character and atmosphere, this is delicately oriented and finely drawn.”–Kirkus Reviews

A Long Day’s Dying is full of questions as to how a life might be lived.”–Dale Brown

The Return of Ansel Gibbs

The Return of Ansel GibbsA cabinet-level presidential appointment precipitates a personal crisis for Ansel Gibbs, a man of sophistication, breeding and sensitivity whose return to public life from retirement frames Buechner’s meditation on the courage required to assert one’s humanity in the modern world.

Winner of the Rosenthal Award

“Mr. Buechner has written an extraordinarily dramatic story.”–Charles Poore, The New York Times

“This is a mature piece of work.”–Literary News

“Mr. Buechner casts his own particular, brilliantly indirect illumination on a private world that is luxurious, comfortable, furnished with intelligence and a certain charm, possessed of intense loyalty to itself and its members, and generous, with polite and sensible reservations, to outsiders.”–The New Yorker

Love Feast

Love FeastThe third volume of Buechner’s profound and at times profane story of the prodigiously funny con man and preacher Leo Bebb. Amidst the trainwreck of a sinner’s life, Buechner reveals Bebb to be an angel as well.

“Frederick Buechner’s Love Feast is the third of his wonderful stories about Leo Bebb, the itinerant minister of the gospel. … The word about Bebb is simple—he lights up every page on which he appears, making each one a joy to read and to anticipate.”–Roger Sale, Hudson Review

“This stylish and witty writer makes the faith seem more expansive and mysterious. Reading Love Feast gives one a marvelous sense of joy in being.”–Cultural Information Service

Treasure Hunt

Treasure HuntThe fourth and final installment of the Bebb saga tells the hilarious and frightening story of love, hate, hopelessness, and hard-won redemption that unravels when Bebb’s family treks to rural South Carolina to claim their inheritance after the itinerant preacher’s assumed death.

“Frederick Buechner is a master craftsman. His books abound with wonder and mystery, both human and divine. They are funny and they are wise. And Treasure Hunt illuminates Buechner at the very top of his form.”–Larry Swindell, Philadelphia Inquirer

“The novel abounds in omens, coincidences, and contrivances because Buechner, like Parr, wants us to venture forth and find wise treasure. …  We laugh; we cry; we gain golden wisdom after reading about his adventures.”–Irving Malin

The Entrance to Porlock

The Entrance to PorlockThe odyssey of eccentric New Englanders sets the stage for an exploration of resentment and fear and the joys of small miracles that happen along the way to their destination.

“In his new novel Frederick Buechner again shows his unique talent for making wonders real and the real wonderful. The book opens up dimensions of our modern hurts and impasses that are missing from much of our fiction.”–Amos N. Wilder

“One of the finest pieces of imaginative prose I have come across for some time….a beautiful, thoughtful, and often witty novel whose music will, I am sure, reverberate in the imagination for a long time.”–Vernon Scannell, The Irish Press

The Seasons’ Difference

The Seasons' DifferenceSet on a Wizard of Oz-like vacation estate, Buechner uses a summer school for children as the backdrop for mystical experiences and a family’s search for faith.

“A brilliant book.”–Francis Bickley, Punch

“In this clever novel, the recesses of the sane and unbelieving mind are probed and found wanting.”–Katherine S. Rosin, Book-of-the-Month Club

“The Seasons’ Difference is a suave and urbane comedy about several immense abstractions—faith, innocence, loneliness, and love.”–Orville Prescott, New York Times Book Review

Open Heart

Open HeartThe second of the four books of Bebb finds the charismatic charlatan preacher Bebb trying to launch another dubious venture as Bebb must cope with such complications as the disappearance of his wife and the emergence of a long-forgotten nemesis.

“He has composed a very well-written, striking, humorous story. It is a pleasure to read and difficult to put down.”–Peter Rowley, Chicago Sun-Times

“Good news. Frederick Buechner, who has quietly become one of America’s finest novelists, has just published an extraordinary new novel called Open Heart.”–Michael Putney, The National Observer

“Open Heart, by Frederick Buechner, is simply wonderful.”–Margaret Manning, Boston Globe

Lion Country

Lion CountryThe first book of the Bebb tetralogy introduces Buechner’s favorite saint and sinner of a preacher, Leo Bebb (CEO, Church of Holy Love, Inc.)—the head of a religious diploma mill who once served five years in prison for exposing himself to a group of children. Lion Country scrambles our understanding of good and evil while ultimately revealing the mystery of belief and the path to faith.

National Book Award Finalist

“Frederick Buechner can find grace and redemption even in the shoddiest, phoniest aspects of a cultural wasteland. One reads Lion Country … with hope and delight.”–Louis Auchincloss

“Lion Country is a fine blend of craft and comedy.”–Philadelphia Inquirer

“Lion Country is elegantly written and very funny – a serious theme embedded in hilarity. Lion Country is a splendid book.”–Boston Globe

The Tiger

Winner of the O. Henry Award

Originally published in The New Yorker, “The Tiger” blends alcohol, a performance as Princeton’s mascot at a football game, and the search for love and meaning all in an afternoon of jubilant conquest, loss, and foreshadowed redemption.