This book purports to be a diary with the musings of an elderly rural American clergyman, written for his young son to read when he is older. At first sight the format is unpromising bur it works remarkably well. The reader is carried along by a narrative of the writer's life, which emerges in skilfully arranged flashbacks and pen portraits of his family and the family of his oldest friend. From a limited palette, the narrative penetratingly brings alive personalties, events and ideas with a lightness of touch and with perception which would not be unworthy of Jane Austin.
There is a debate over whether there is such a thing as a 'Christian' novel. Some writers bring alive clergy and other religious characters but their beliefs are left largely unexplored. Others use the form of a novel as an apologetic for their belief but these, even the best, such as the works of CS Lewis, often rile readers who do not share that belief. This book brings alive a man and his thoughts which any reader should recognise as engagingly human but which are clearly grounded in a sensitive Christian faith.