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The Longing for Home: Reflections at Midlife

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  251 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In this deeply moving book of reflection and recollection, Frederick Buechner once again draws us into his deeply textured life and experience to illuminate our own understanding of home as both our place of origin and our ultimate destination.

For Frederick Buechner, the meaning of home is twofold: the home we remember and the home we dream. As a word, it not only recalls
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published July 4th 1996 by HarperOne
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Ryan Greer
Apr 10, 2016 Ryan Greer rated it liked it
Let's just get it out there early and say that Buechner is one of my all time favorite authors. I don't really like reading too many Christian-types these days but that's because they don't write like Buechner... In my opinion he falls pretty squarely into the (sparsely populated) camp of Christian Mysticism, where faith and doubt walk hand in hand, and the stories of the Bible crash up pretty hard against the harsh reality of every day living. He has a beautiful way of airing out his own inadeq ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Sarah rated it really liked it
My favorite chapter has to be Letter to Benjamin and this passage spoke to my heart:
"I suspect that our stories in their fullness will always be hidden from each other and that all those whiskered old men and bonneted old women looking out at us from their photographs in family albums will always remain mysteries to us even if, like me, they happen to have written their memoirs. And yet I believe that all is not lost. Maybe we can never know each other's stories in their fullness, but I believe
Dec 26, 2009 Lizlo added it
Rev. Buechner's Longing for Home holds within its pages wisdom for people of any faith. He is open about his own dark places which permits the reader to honor theirs. He depicts this dark side with a loving care that is exempt from righteous judgement.

Having experienced family issues and the meaning of what it is to be rooted and home, this spiritual read resonated for me.
Debbie Howell
Feb 29, 2008 Debbie Howell rated it really liked it
Recommended to Debbie by: book group
Read more like a collection of essays than as one cohesive piece, but I liked it. Loved the poems he included, loved his reminiscences about his family, loved his description of his process of writing. I zoned out a few times ("Rinkitink in Oz" didn't do much for me), but things picked up at the end with a series of short reflections on faith, hope, and grace.
Dec 11, 2007 Sarah rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Heaven Hopefuls
As usual, Beuchner does an outstanding job. This short book of letters, poems and essays is a magnificent view of everyday life from a man who is near the end of his own. A must-read!
Apr 16, 2014 Scott rated it it was ok
At the front of my copy of this book, there is an inscription that reads:

For Scott, Who has already found a home among us. May we be family to you. Grace and Peace, Your Royal Lane Family

It was an installation gift, eleven years ago. It and two other Buechner books, given to me because they were surprised I hadn't read any and also because they felt Buechner so well described the spirit of Royal Lane. I had, however, just before that read my first Buechner, his best book, Telling the Truth. So,
Jan 08, 2016 Fred rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful reflection on life, love and longing for a place to belong. Buechner considers the places that have been home for him and different people whom he has loved. There is even a letter that he writes to his infant grandson to be opened in the impossibly far-ahead year of August 2015. But the book hits its beautiful stride in the second half which he entitles "The Home We Dream." There are some powerful reflections on doubt, certainty, creation, evil and freewill. These are midlif ...more
May 07, 2014 Brandon rated it liked it
The whole of this book, a collection of essays reflecting on the various types of "home" and yearlings for it, earns a meager three stars. As a whole, the book does not always feel very connected.

However, certain chapters/essays earn 5 stars. These include "The Home We Knew," "The Journey Toward Wholeness," and "The Great Dance." Parts of this book were very insightful. I read it in preparation for a sermon series in Zechariah.
Hannah Vanderpool
Sep 08, 2015 Hannah Vanderpool rated it really liked it
Long on style, shorter on substance. Buechner reads like a poet and shines in the personal essay as miniature memoir. His theological discourses tend to veer off track and aren't especially compelling.
Jul 10, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it
After getting ripped off by Barnes and Noble (I didn't realize it at the time, but some lawyer informed me that I was, in fact, ripped off) I was included in a settlement. As a result, I had a few pennies to rub together in my Barnes and Noble account. A good friend of mine, +Jonathan Roberts, had recommended that I read some Frederick Buechner. He said that he really enjoyed Buechner's work and that I would probably enjoy it too. I went ahead and purchased a couple of his nook-books and just fi ...more
Colleen Lahey
May 01, 2014 Colleen Lahey rated it did not like it
I felt that Part 2 was better than Part 1 but, on the whole, the book just didn't work for me. Part 1, in particular, was too disjointed.
Liz Banks
Nov 06, 2014 Liz Banks rated it it was amazing
At this time, I needed this book, and it felt as if it was written for me.
Feb 18, 2016 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A searching, intelligent, deeply felt, probing book about life, faith, and the darkness and light contained in both that often go hand in hand.
Carrie Laben
Jun 11, 2012 Carrie Laben rated it did not like it
I accept that I'm not really in the target audience for this book. But it has glaring flaws regardless of the reader's belief system, including a weak through-line, repetitiveness, and a general lack of apparent thought in choosing and ordering the included essays. Buechner is constrained and stuffy when writing about emotionally fraught issues, and often tedious when he thinks he is being charming. On top of this, I found his reasoning weak.
Feb 09, 2010 H added it
Shelves: memoir
2nd half. reflects what sidney wrote, that pleasure from sorrow is sometimes greater even than pleasure from pleasure.

when we catch a glimpse of heaven or of paradise, we shed a tear. not tears of happiness, b/c happiness is just things going the way we want, quickly proceeded by the unhappiness of things not going the way we want. tears of joy and grief together. we are homesick for heaven.
The construction felt a bit odd, but the wisdom was of the depth that I often cherish when reading Buechner. It touches on ideas that he develops further in some of his other words. A quick and refreshing read.
Apr 03, 2012 Gary rated it liked it
Though not Buechner's best, he offers some thoughtful allusions and his voice is unmistakable. The book really doesn't have a theme that holds it together, but seems to be only a collection of essays, poems, sermons, and meditations that Buechner had been working on over a period of time.
Pam Howell
Feb 14, 2013 Pam Howell rated it really liked it
This is my second time readying this particular book of Buechner. His writing touches my heart, challenges my mind & speaks to my soul. He inspires me to live deeply.

This time around, the second half of the book was more powerful to me.
Steve Penner
Midlife reflections came at the right time for me. Buechner is in many ways an "everyman" in what he experiences, but very unique in the way he describes those experiences.
Aug 26, 2014 Carol rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in2014
I did not like the first half of this book. The later chapters were more of what I was looking for. I wouldn't really recommend this book.
Apr 20, 2012 Glen rated it really liked it
I reviewed this on my blog
Aug 17, 2013 Chuck rated it it was amazing
This wonderful memoir brought tears of longing and reflections of sadness unspoken. Powerful and precious writing.
Ann Rothschild
Jan 08, 2014 Ann Rothschild rated it really liked it
Immersed myself in this over the winter break. This will be a book I re-read as life progresses.
Kyle Hoover
Dec 10, 2013 Kyle Hoover rated it really liked it
Part one is the dirt you have to dig through to find the treasure in part two.
Emily Holehan
Emily Holehan marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2016
Mikhal Szabo
Mikhal Szabo marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Anne White
Anne White marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Samantha marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2016
Rachel marked it as to-read
Jun 10, 2016
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Frederick Buechner is a highly influential writer and theologian who has won awards for his poetry, short stories, novels and theological writings. His work pioneered the genre of spiritual memoir, laying the groundwork for writers such as Anne Lamott, Rob Bell and Lauren Winner.

His first book, A Long Day's Dying, was published to acclaim just two years after he graduated from Princeton. He entere
More about Frederick Buechner...

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“our stories are all stories of searching. We search for a good self to be and for good work to do. We search to become human in a world that tempts us always to be less than human or looks to us to be more. We search to love and to be loved. And in a world where it is often hard to believe in much of anything, we search to believe in something holy and beautiful and life-transcending that will give meaning and purpose to the lives we live.” 7 likes
“We are in constant danger of being not actors in the drama of our own lives but reactors. The fragmentary nature of our experience shatters us into fragments. Instead of being whole, most of the time we are in pieces, and we see the world in pieces, full of darkness at one moment and full of light the next. It is in Jesus, of course, and in the people whose lives have been deeply touched by Jesus, and in ourselves at those moments when we also are deeply touched by him, that we see another way of being human in this world, which is the way of wholeness. When we glimpse that wholeness in others, we recognize it immediately for what it is, and the reason we recognize it, I believe, is that no matter how much the world shatters us to pieces, we carry inside us a vision of wholeness that we sense is our true home and that beckons to us. It is part of what the book of Genesis means by saying that we are made in the image of God.” 3 likes
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