Saturday, February 25, 2006

Godric by Frederic Buechner

I just finished rereading Godric by Frederick Buechner for probably the 5th or 6th time. This is a book I read for the first time in college and usually go back to once a year or so. It's not a typical story, it doesn't have a typical plot. Godric is a monk or holy man from the 12th century. The story just tells snippets of his life and travels and his reflections on them. It's not a forward moving book. It doesn't gain momentum or really go anywhere, it just reads almost like a travelogue. But Buechner's writing takes it above that. He creates his own language or dialect for Godric and the other characters in the story which definately gives this book more of a feeling of authenticity, it makes it feel more poetic. It also can chase off some readers.

The previous times I have read this, I have absolutely loved it. It didn't bother me that it was going nowhere really. I found nuggets of wisdom and little parables in the chapters that kept me entertained. The language and texture of the book was enough to keep me intrigued. The first sentance, "Five friends I had, and two of them snakes," is enough to keep most readers going through at least the first chapter. There still were nuggets of greatness here for sure. There are definately moments of pure beauty in the writing such as...

Why do we weep? I asked myself. We wept for all that grandeur gone. We wept for martyrs cruelly slain. We wept for Christ who suffered death upon a Tree and suffers still to see our suffering. But more than anything, I think, we wept for us, and so it ever is with tears. Whatever be their outward cause, within the chancel of the heart it's we ourselves for whom they finally fall


"You speak of time Godric, Ailred said. His cough for once was gone. "Time is a storm Times past and times to come, the heave and flow and leap their bounds like Wear. Hours are clouds that change their shapes before your eyes. A dragon fades into a naidens scarf, A monkeys grin becomes an angry fist. But beyonds times storm and clouds there is timelessness. Godric, the Lord of Heaven changes not, and even when our view is most dark, he;s there above us fair and golden like the sun. God's never gone, it's only men that go blind." And so it is.

But this time reading it through these were to far and too far between for me. The book is only 150 some pages long. And perhaps it's cause I have read it 5 times already, and I knew what was coming. But there are other books that hold up to those repeated readings. I hope to come back to Godric at some point in the next few years and read it again with the same excitement I read it with the first time, but it just wasn't happening in february of 2006.

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