In April 1997 Reynolds Price received an eloquent letter from a reader of his cancer memoir, A Whole New Life. The correspondent, a young medical student diagnosed with cancer himself and facing his own mortality, asked these difficultQuestions. The two began a long-distance correspondence, culminating in Price's thoughtful response, originally delivered as the Jack and Lewis Rudin Lecture at Auburn Theological Seminary, and now expanded onto the printed page as Letter to a Man in the Fire.
Harvesting a variety of sources -- diverse religious traditions, classical and modern texts, and a lifetime of personal experiences, interactions, and spiritual encounters -- Price meditates on God's participation in our fate. With candor and sympathy, he offers the reader such a rich variety of tools to explore these questions as to place this work in the company of other great tetsaments of faith from St. Augustine to C. S. Lewis.
Letter to a Man in the Fire moves as much as it educates. It is a rare combination of deep erudition, vivid prose, and profound humanity.
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Boston Sunday Globe Deeply thoughtful...Price's own faith underlies the whole argument, while his intelligence probes the sources of that belief....comforting and consoling.
Craig Nova The Washington Post Book World What is inspiring about his book...is the dignity and honesty of Price's beliefs....The solace comes...in his sensibility, which is one of concern, empathy, and dignity....At once inspiring and profound.
Edward Hirsch The New York Times Book Review Courageous, learned, intuitive...a small book with a large reach.