THE SEASON'S DIFFERENCE by Frederick Buechner


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Frederick Buechner whose first novel- A Long Day's Dying received such critical attention, has written a second book which is Jamesian, rarefied, baroque and occasionally gothic. It is highly systemized, always skillful, though at times self-conscious. For the most part Buschner's writing is on a very high, pristine level; its style lends itself to the religious strain of this present novel. Its structure is one summer in a beautiful house in the lives of a wealthy coterie of adults and children. One of the adults, a rather dull, bland man named Peter Cowley claims to have seen a vision in a ; this incident is the crux of the novel; everything else falls around it into place like the folds of a monk's robe. Some of the scenes are ugliness, loneliness, beauty, decadence, lack of communication, the interchangeability of the adult-child world. There is occasionally, particularly in the person of Mr. Lavender- the quite mad friend of Peter Cowley- a Lewis Carroll logistic twist. There is also the symbol of the fish, which brings to the mind Paul Klee's painting in which the fish represents a kind of mysticism. In this quite misty world of adults who don't face reality as a rule (Sam, the owner of the house, is always falling asleep), it is the children who recognize the harshness. Buechner has described fully the wealthy, charming, material life which, then scrutinized closely, reveals its insecure pattern. His first novel, special as it was, reached an audience of 15,000 which this may parallel.

Publisher: Knopf