Letter to a Godchild
By Reynolds Price
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9780743291804, 112pp.)
Publication Date: May 9, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In the year 2000 acclaimed author Reynolds Price became honorary godfather to Harper Peck Voll. As a christening gift, Price composed a letter to the child, one intended as a brief guide for Harper's spiritual future. The letter sketched the crucial roles which faith had played in Price's own life and whittled down those lessons the author felt were most valuable. Later, Price realized that in a rapidly complicating world, his thoughts might also be useful for other children and their parents. Here, then, is an expanded version of the original letter -- an eloquent, thoughtful, and inspiring look at faith from one of the most revered American writers and most respected students of religion.
In Letter to a Godchild, Price recounts how his life has been shaped by numerous and varied spiritual influences -- from the Bible-story books his parents bought him before he could read, to the childhood days spent exploring dense woods near his home (woods where he searched for arrowheads and spied on numerous wild animals), to Sundays at church with his father and mother, his travels around the world to magisterial structures as various as St. Peter's and the old Penn Station, and years of study both in and out of the classroom. With no trace of self-pity, he explains how his faith grew and deepened when in 1984 -- after a life of robust health -- he suffered a cancer that eventually led to paralysis of his lower body.
Letter to a Godchild includes striking pictures of the buildings, objects, places, and events that have deepened the author's religious sensibility. He has also compiled a comprehensive section on further reading, looking, and listening that provides suggestions for books, art, and music that will entertain as well as enhance this volume. A profoundly intelligent and moving explication of religion and spirituality, Letter to a Godchild is an exhilarating experience for readers of all faiths.
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
"Price may be the best living religious writer . . ." -- The Boston Globe
"It is good to have an outlaw storyteller like Reynolds Price turn up from time to time to help us reimagine gospel truth." -- The Christian Century
"Provocative and insightful." -- The Dallas Morning News
"The results of his work are certain to provoke debate. They are also . . . lucid, intelligent, never self-serving." -- Booklist
"Full of big questions and persuasive answers." -- Kirkus Reviews