on June 3, 1997
Friesen stuns with potent, disturbing images, and awakens a yearning for the sacred. His book, which is actually one long poem, is a masterpiece. Friesen captures a longing long denied us--a thirst for a faith--and firmly pulls the reader into this story of a Mennonite farmer's destruction. The farmer is excommunicated (shunned) by his church for questioning an aspect of the Christian faith. The story is told through the eyes of the farmer's brother, usually, but occasionally we see through the eyes of the wife, the children, the townspeople, and, perhaps, a distanced, clinical god.
Before this work is dismissed as yet another "to hell with Grandpa's religion" book, it is important to note that the book pays no attention to the validity of the farmer's quandry, but instead focuses on the pain, the isolation, and the loss, of a solitary man in his microcosm