Download Abide With Me [PDF] By Elizabeth Strout

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BookAbide With Me
AuthorElizabeth Strout
Size1.4 MB

Abide With Me Book PDF download for free

Abide With Me Book PDF download for free

In the late 1950s, in a small New England town, Reverend Tyler Caskey has suffered a terrible loss and is finding it hard to go back to being the person he once was. He struggles to find the right words in his sermons and in his conversations with people who are also in crisis, and to bring his five-year-old daughter Katherine out of the silence he has been observing after the tragedy. family.

Tyler’s normally patient and kind congregation now questions his leadership and decency, and the accusations stem from anger and gossip. Then, in Tyler’s darkest hour, a shocking discovery will test the humanity of his community and his own will to endure the trials that will sooner or later test us all.

Abide With Me Book Pdf Download

Reading about Elizabeth Strout’s “Abide with Me” reminded me that fiction can be sometimes capture the truth of things better than the reports of the fact, just as a beautiful painting can sometimes be more truthful than the photograph of the same scene.

I heard Strout speak at a Bangor Theological Seminary meeting a few years ago, and she knew her book was about a church minister in rural Maine, but I barely got around to reading it. I am happy to have done it.

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The answers to my own life are surprising. I am not Tyler Caskey, your protagonist, but I began my ministry in some very small rural towns in Maine that bear a striking resemblance to the fictional West Annett. And I left those congregations to become a chaplain at Bangor Seminary, which is the model for Tyler’s alma mater, Brockmorton Theological Seminary (a whimsical reference to my late former colleague, legendary Bangor New Testament professor Burton H. Throckmorton).

Like Tyler, I married a girl from Massachusetts who, according to many speculations, lived with me in the parsonage. Of course there are many differences: I started my ministry in the mid-70s and Tyler in the late 50s, but things in the small town of Maine had not changed much.

Stout deftly depicts the “wheels within wheels” complexity behind the seemingly simple social life of a small town in Maine. Enduring the endless soul-numbing winter, the people of West Annett don’t realize how they accepted his lack of opportunity as a virtue.

Strout takes her time. You know from page one that some bad things have happened to Tyler Caskey and the residents of West Annett, but she’s in no rush to tell you what they are. Her narration is like peeling an onion, and that in itself captures the rhythm of these small towns, where nothing ever seems to happen on the surface when in reality it’s as busy as an ant farm just below.

Tyler himself is a lovable, half-serious character, with his love for Bonhoeffer, his tenderness for his injured little daughter, and his quiet, everyday faithfulness. Strout knows her church, and knows something of the magnitude and misery of the ministry, as the minister can go from reading The Costs of Discipleship to listening to cheesy local gossip or the sordid confession of a sour marriage in a minute.

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Its cast of characters will make many a country parson smile: the hostile husband who reads the paper in the car in the church parking lot, the loyal one who routinely calls Tyler to warn him of what’s going on, multiple varieties of antagonists, and the wife married to a crush the minister and a bone to pick.

Strout looks at her characters with clear eyes, and portrayals of her sometimes miss the point of cruelty. If you care about these imperfect people, it is out of something akin to mercy, since they are not “good” people, as real people usually are not. But in the end it is, in keeping with the theme, a salvation story. Strout doesn’t clean up life’s messes, but she knows that the sacred rhythm that runs from Good Friday to Easter isn’t limited to ancient Jerusalem.

I don’t want to reveal too much. Read “Abide with Me.” It’s the kind of book where when you finish the last page and close the cover, the characters are gone.

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