"The Bible's account of Jacob is a pungent seed found in a tomb," wrote the poet James Merrill about this novel. "Frederick Buechner has planted it and the result is this beautiful swaying tree of a book." The fact that Merrill was an old friend of Buechner's does not disqualify this eloquent testimony. Indeed, Jacob is powerfully translated here through Buechner's honest and humorous--and cantankerous--voice. We see a living, human character, as always in Buechner's work, whether fiction or nonfiction. From this archetypal tale of feuding brothers he draws a story of family and fear, and a tale of a living God with whom Jacob wrestles in more ways than one. The tale of this life is a rich one: the two wives, Leah and Rachel, the journeys and the dreams--all of it takes on a coloring that is both strange and yet familiar: here is a Jacob both larger than life and yet very much human, very much one of us. --Doug Thorpe
From Publishers Weekly
In this reimagined life of the biblical patriarch Jacob, Buechner ( Brendan ) sticks close to the Bible story. Reminiscing during his last days in Goshen, Jacob recounts the familiar events. An ambitious and cunning youth, he gets his ravenous elder twin Esau to sell his birthright for a meal, and then connives to receive the blessing that their father, Isaac (whose name, readers are told means "laughter," hence the title), would confer on his brother. He dreams of a stairway to heaven and wrestles with God, called "the Fear" throughout. Later chapters focus, like the biblical account, on Jacob's son Joseph. Buechner's embellishments deal mainly in his subject's inner psychology, and while his style is highly readable, the prose lacks resonance and in the end the novel proves no more evocative or informative than a well-developed Sunday-school lesson. The conceit of Jacob justifying his own life to the reader wears thin, and because the story is so familiar there are few surprises. Buechner's autobiographical works are more effective, but this volume is not likely to disappoint his many faithful readers.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.