TREASURE HUNT by Frederick Buechner


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Could anyone but Frederick Buechner blend reincarnation, UFOs, transistorized teeth, adultery, illegitimacy, and Jesus without seeming a smart-aleck, a preacher, or a lout? But then no one but Buechner has dear departed (via Love Feast, 1974) evangelist Leo Bebb as a quasi-spiritual guide or Bebb's professorial son-in-law Antonio Parr as a freethinking narrator. The treasure (read: Kingdom of Heaven) hunt begins when Antonio, wife Sharon, and octogenarian theosophist Gertrude Conover leave Princeton for Poinsett, S.C., at Bebb's posthumous request: his cassette-recorded Last Will & Testament urges them to do something nice ""for Jesus"" with the old Bebb homestead. To their surprise, Bebb's hitherto unreported twin brother Babe--and bald wife Bertha--are already ensconced therein, having established a profitable Uforium--moon rocks, consultations, life-rays. While tetchy family tensions over the property mount, Antonio feels a ""kind of panicky openness to almost any possibility,"" even the possibility that Bebb has been reincarnated as a blind, newborn Poinsett baby. And Sharon digs up her soiled roots: ""It must be some kind of a record, Bopper. I finally find my real mother, and a couple of days later she takes off for outerspace. Maybe I ought to try the spray can instead of the roll-on."" Like much-reincarnated Gertrude, who likes to draw parallels between Pontius Pilate and Nelson Rockefeller, Buechner knows ""short-cut diagonals to the heart of things."" And his diagonals run circles around just about everybody else in the humor-cum-philosophy business.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Atheneum