On the Road with Archangel

Lu’s friends from college are hosting us here in Salt Lake City. They are very kind. I would like to introduce you to the framed delight on their living room wall.

Also, Frederick Buechner signed their copy of this novel that I borrowed from their shelf in the guest room, On the Road With Archangel.

I recently heard a friend tell me that she doesn’t particularly enjoy reading books. I don’t particularly believe her, but sort of understand what she meant. I do not enjoy reading books, either. I only enjoy reading the rare good book. I do not have time to bother with bad ones.

Buechner’s novel is a story drawn from the ancient apocryphal story of Tobit. The archangel Raphael is the narrator. He delivers the prayers of humans into the throneroom of God. From page one:

“Some prayers I hold out as far from me as my arm will reach, the way a woman holds a dead mouse by the tail when she removes it from the kitchen. Some, like flowers, are almost too beautiful to touch, and others so aflame that I’d be afraid of their setting me on fire if I weren’t already more like fire than am anything else.” – from On the Road With Archangel.

I could take a bath in chapter one alone and stay cleaner for days.

This week I watched a movie about Iris Murdoch (20th century British novelist/philosopher/aesthete), called Iris. The one scene that really got me was when Iris’ husband asked her this:

“You love words, don’t you Iris?”

And I inwardly said, “Yes, I do.”

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