Item description for The Storm by Frederick Buechner...
Overview The Boston Globe calls Frederick Buechner "one of our finest writers." USA Today says he's "one of our most original storytellers." Now this acclaimed author gives us his most beguiling novel yet--a magical tale of love, betrayal, and redemption inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. On wealthy Plantation Island in South Florida, an old man waits, Kenzie Maxwell is a writer, a raconteur, a rascal, an altruist, a mystic--a charismatic figure who enjoys life with his rich third wife but muses daily on the sins of his past. Two decades ago, Kenzie had to leave New York because of a scandal. He'd been a volunteer at a runawat shelter, and he'd fallen in love with a seventeen-year-old girl--a girl who died while giving birth to Kenzie's daughter. His older brother, Dalton, a lawyer and board member at the shelter, decided to quell the rumors by releasing Kenzie's note of apology to the press. Kenzie's reputation--and the girl's--were destroyed. He has never forgiven his brother. Now it's the eve of Kenzie's seventieth birthday, and a storm is brewing. His beloved daughter, Bree--the child of the scandal--is coming down from New York for his birthday party. But his brother Dalton is coming down, too, to do some legal work for the island's ill-tempered matriarch. Aided and abetted by Dalton's happy-go-lucky stepson, a loutish gardener, a New Age windsurfer, a bumbling bishop, and a bona fide tempest, Kenzie must somehow contrive to reconcile with his brother--and make peace with his past. Infused with humanity, and informed by faith. The Storm is Frederick Buechner's most captivating novel since Godric--a richly satisfying contemporary story of fragmented families and love's many mysteries that will move you, makeyou laugh, and fill you with wonder.
The Boston Globe calls Frederick Buechner "one of our finest writers." USA Today says he's "one of our most original storytellers." Now this acclaimed author gives us his most beguiling novel yet--a magical tale of love, betrayal, and redemption inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest.
On wealthy Plantation Island in South Florida, an old man waits, Kenzie Maxwell is a writer, a raconteur, a rascal, an altruist, a mystic--a charismatic figure who enjoys life with his rich third wife but muses daily on the sins of his past. Two decades ago, Kenzie had to leave New York because of a scandal. He'd been a volunteer at a runawat shelter, and he'd fallen in love with a seventeen-year-old girl--a girl who died while giving birth to Kenzie's daughter. His older brother, Dalton, a lawyer and board member at the shelter, decided to quell the rumors by releasing Kenzie's note of apology to the press. Kenzie's reputation--and the girl's--were destroyed. He has never forgiven his brother.
Now it's the eve of Kenzie's seventieth birthday, and a storm is brewing. His beloved daughter, Bree--the child of the scandal--is coming down from New York for his birthday party. But his brother Dalton is coming down, too, to do some legal work for the island's ill-tempered matriarch. Aided and abetted by Dalton's happy-go-lucky stepson, a loutish gardener, a New Age windsurfer, a bumbling bishop, and a bona fide tempest, Kenzie must somehow contrive to reconcile with his brother--and make peace with his past.
Infused with humanity, and informed by faith. The Storm is Frederick Buechner's most captivating novel since Godric--a richly satisfying contemporary story of fragmented families and love's many mysteries that will move you, makeyou laugh, and fill you with wonder.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.98" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.49" Weight: 0.35 lbs.
Release Date Jun 18, 2002
ISBN 0060611456 ISBN13 9780060611453 UPC 099455013956
Availability 0 units.
More About Frederick Buechner
Frederick Buechner was born in 1926. The author of more than thirty books, including "Godric," a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, he is one of the most often quoted Christian authors alive today.
Frederick Buechner currently resides in Rupert Putney, in the state of Vermont. Frederick Buechner was born in 1926.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Storm?
Thoughtful ... Jan 2, 2007
This is perhaps one of the more thoughtful readings of the past year. It is a very slim book that packs quite a punch within these pages. It is lyrical and realistic enough where I, the reader, can relate to just about every character in the book.
There's Kenzie who is married to Willow, a rich woman who lives on Plantation Island in Florida. Both have secrets that neither really knows. Kenzie was wildly in love with one of his proteges in New York, a young graffiti artist named Kia, who died in childbirth. Bree, his daughter, was raised by Kenzie's sister. Kenzie's affair with Kia caused an estrangement with his brother, Dalton, who is also stepfather to Nandy, his wife's son. Then there's Violet who owns most of the Plantation Island. There's Willow's son, Averill who happens to live there with Kenzie and Willow. All of their stories come together in the end during a big storm that nearly caused the end of Dalton and Nandy's lives.
These are stories of love, anger, forgiveness and redemption. These are thoughtful stories and stories that are entwined among the characters that they're not even fully aware of. They are just reflections of the human race.
It is my first introduction to Frederick Buechner's writings and hopefully, it will not be my last book of his. It is incredibly lyrical ~~ even now, when I am flipping among the pages, I find myself wanting to read it again. That doesn't happen very often.
Lovely and Forgiving Feb 25, 2006
"The Storm" is Frederick Buechner's lovely and forgiving little tale of a collection of eccentric misfits brought together-literally and figuratively-by a storm on a tiny resort island off the Florida coast. It is clearly inspired by Shakespeare's last play and greatest of his late romances, "The Tempest". As such, it provides the Bard-loving reader with one of the best literary adaptations of a Shakespeare play since Jane Smiley's "A Thousand Acres".
In Shakespeare's play, the island in question is ruled by an exiled Duke and magician named Prospero, castaway with his daughter, Miranda, after being overthrown by a plot involving his wicked brother. Until Prospero's and Miranda's arrival, the island's sole inhabitants had been the monster Caliban (read: "Cannibal"), the son of an old witch named Sycorax, and a fairy named Ariel, whom Sycorax had imprisoned in a tree. Using his magic, Prospero frees Ariel, takes over the island, and eventually creates another storm, or "tempest", in order to regain his Dukedom, enable a providential marriage for his daughter, and work a reconciliation with his estranged brother.
In Buechner's tale, it is the witchy old Miss Sickert (Sycorax) who literally owns the island, while Kenzie (Buechner's Prospero) is a tenant. Kenzie is a broken-down writer on his third rich wife. Well-meaning but ineffectual, he had been exposed some years before as a child-abuser by his own brother after getting a 17-yr-old homeless girl-a client in a NYC shelter where Kenzie was volunteering-pregnant. As a protagonist in a quietly Christian novel, Kenzie may be difficult to sell as a sympathetic character, but Buechner, though an ordained minister, never confuses narrative with preaching. It is one of this novel's several accomplishments that Buechner manages to make Kenzie a likeable if very flawed human being rather than a poster boy for a political (or religious) diatribe. In the process, Bruechner also manages to show how God's mercy and providence can produce miracles among the most difficult people, and from the most unlikely events.
And may I add that you don't need to know anything about Shakespeare to enjoy it?
OH, THE STORMS OF OUR LIVES... Aug 28, 2002
One of Frederick Buechner's most compelling talents, for me, is his ability to create characters that are profoundly real and believable. In all of the novels by this author that I have read so far, this is a firm constant -- and one of his greatest strengths. Whether the setting is Biblical times (as in THE SON OF LAUGHTER or ON THE ROAD WITH THE ARCHANGEL), the mediaeval British Isles (as in BRENDAN and his Pulitzer-nominated masterpiece GODRIC), or present-day Florida (as in THE STORM), Buechner's characters are brimming with a wonderful humanity.
THE STORM concerns the estrangement of two brothers, both now elderly. The central character, a writer named Kenzie Maxwell, is approaching his 70th birthday -- and the storm clouds are gathering around him, both figuratively and literally. His brother Dalton, whom he dismissed several years ago with a wish never to look upon his face again, is coming for a brief stay on the island where Kenzie and his wife Willow live. Kenzie has never forgiven his brother for -- as he sees it -- besmirching the character and spirit of a young woman named Kia, with whom Kenzie shared a brief affair and fathered a child (before his marriage to Willow). The affair caused a bit of a scandal at the time -- Kia was only 17, and Kenzie was already in his 50s, working at a shelter for homeless and abused children in New York City, where Kia had been a client. Kia died giving birth to Kenzie's daughter -- and the older man has never shirked his responsibilities toward her, seeing to it that she is raised in caring surroundings, treating her with love and respect. Part of Kenzie's anger at his brother is actually engendered by his own actions -- although he has a hard time realizing this. I think, deep down, he feels a lot of guilt over the events himself, and has a hard time not only admitting his guilt, but coming to terms with the actions he has taken in his own life.
Kenzie's marriage to Willow is a sweet relationship -- one of the most gently fulfilling unions I've seen portrayed in literature. It's not a tumultuous passion that they share -- but there is love abounding in the form of kindness, respect and support, qualities that are too often nudged aside in stories in favor of heated sexual encounters. Their marriage is a quiet one, but strong, truly built upon a rock.
Kenzie is best-known as an author for a book he has written several years before, documenting the lives of various saints. He has never considered himself to be a profoundly religious man -- he even looks with some amusement of the tactics employed by various subjects in his book in order that they might experience, reach, touch God. As he writes the book, however, he begins to feel more of a pull himself, and winds up living the rest of his life as a quietly spiritual person -- not trying to convince others of how to live their lives, but simply trying to live his own faith through his actions. His epiphany concerning the saints whose lives he is chronicling is expressed beautifully by Buechner.
Kenzie's brother Dalton -- who, after all the years that have passed, is still in the dark as to why his brother has banished him from his life -- is an intelligent, thoughtful man, an attorney, but one living with many doubts as to the value of his own life. Like his brother's guilt, these doubts are hidden deeply below the surface and are not seen for what they are by their bearer. He has experienced a couple of 'breakdown' episodes in his life -- and is therefore treated a bit with kid gloves by those around him. He sometimes makes pronouncements at dinners or parties that cause people to think he's a little odd -- and he's all too aware of these 'lapses'.
The wealthy woman who owns most of Plantation Island in Florida, where the bulk of this story takes place, has retained Dalton as her attorney. Loving to play games with other people's lives, and knowing full well about the estrangement between the two brothers, she invites Dalton to come to the island to help her with her will -- on the same weekend as Kenzie's 70th birthday celebration, hoping to engender and witness an entertaining confrontation.
Also coming to the island is Kenzie's daughter Bree -- the child born of his 'scandalous' affair years earlier with the 17 year-old Kia. Dalton's stepson lives on the mainland nearby, and is invited by his father to come to the island as well. Kenzie knows about his brother's impending visit, and concludes that it is probably time to at least attempt to bury the hatchet. As Willow so succinctly puts it, 'You're too old to do anything else with it'.
The (literal) storm of the title blows up while Dalton and his stepson are out on the ocean in a borrowed boat -- neither of them being sufficiently familiar with it, especially under foul weather conditions. The potential of losing his brother forever touches Kenzie -- and, indeed, all of those gathered for the birthday party -- in a deep way, causing them to rethink the ways they have lived their lives and reflect on things that are truly meaningful and important, the things that last, that make our lives blessed, each in our own way.
Buechner brings all of these elements together masterfully. His narrative abilities are astounding and subtle -- he never stoops to literary pyrotechnics -- and the spirituality that has filled every work I have read of his is like a gentle light, not the force-fed, raving bombast that passes for such in other authors' works. There is a great deal of subtle humor in several of these characters (and in his other works as well) -- the woman who owns the island and the bishop who oversees her chapel, most notably. The story is gripping and moving, intelligently conceived and executed -- and one that, I think, will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
The Redeemed Characters Mar 14, 2002
I believe that The Storm is a story of a completely dysfunctional family, but hope, faith and caring shine through despite so many histories and challenges. Buechner's novel examines his familiar themes about sin, grace, miracle, and reconciliation. This is a short novel. It makes no crashing pronouncement about human destiny. Instead, it reminds us of the struggle for meaning, recognition and connection with others that all of us are involved in, to find out where we belong. Our lives may not be as extreme as these characters, but what they feel and long for is universal. From my point of view Miss Sickert does partially redeem at the end of the novel. I believe she finds a hope and peace in her life, which persuades her to go on. She understands the true meaning of life as well as recognizing the faith.
there's a calm after the storm... Mar 14, 2001
Forgiveness. Reconciliation. These are very up-front themes in this story. The main character, Kenzie is in need of both... and he, in turn, needs to demonstrate both of these towards his brother Dalton. But even above this, I think that The Storm has much to say about the power of "belonging" and the lessons learned while rebuilding one's life after an experience of profound loss and disgrace. Kenzie comes closest to a realization of BELONGING through his relationship with Willow, but according to Kenzie, the world is not famous for happy endings... his is a sort of morose character who is quietly seeking his sense of "home". Does he ever really find it?
Sometimes it may take a real storm (some sort of mutually experienced calamity) to make us aware of the importance of living in community, the need to live "grace"fully, the need for brotherly love to be freely given as much as it is possible. It is remarkable how Buechner's book has left me with a sense of the importance of "family". This is a worthwhile read!