What do you do when life loses its plot? When the story you thought you were living has become a shamble? When the faith you believed informed your story has turned into, it would appear, the means of its destruction?
It might also be true, of course, that you have simply made a mess of life.
That’s the situation in which the Reverend Ted March finds himself in The Holy Fool. His marriage in crisis, his children confused, and his congregation at his throat, Ted responds by going deeper into the Christian mystery than ever before and finds he must take an unimaginable risk.
The Holy Fool, first released in 1984, is an acute observation of life within evangelical circles, with a depth of insight that makes it as relevant today as ever. Beyond its unflinching depiction of this religious milieu—in which 80 million Americans practice their faith—the novel addresses perennial questions of life’s meaning, especially how to reconcile a broken and often cruel world with a loving God.
One of the best novels I have read in a very long time.
J. F. Powers, author of Morte D’Urban and Wheat That Springeth Green
There is a breathtaking precision in the rendering of Ted March, his family, and the milieu in which he braves his spiritual and temporal storm . . . a victorious accomplishment.
R. V. Cassill, editor of The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Fiction
Harold Fickett’s writing is elegant, precise, and compulsively readable. His psychological insights on the life of faith and its many shadows and valleys hit the bullseye every time. This is an honest, compassionate novel that is worth every minute of your time.
John Zmirak, Senior Editor, The Stream
The Holy Fool is a brilliant story about faith. Its plot develops gradually and not as the reader will likely anticipate. It deals with profound questions with subtlety, and its characters are complex and recognizable. (Especially real is Fickett’s depiction of a contemporary marriage.) This is a novel for adults, but it is hardly smutty. It is remarkable, imaginative, and affecting.
Jonathan Leaf, playwright and critic
Harold Fickett deals with a subculture seldom viewed either from within or without with such authoritative, realistic, grainy details or internal resonance . . . and carries off his story with sheer comic gusto and joy in the telling
Larry Woiwode, author of Beyond the Bedroom Wall
I grew up reading books purported to be written by others but which were really written by Harold Fickett. But I missed The Holy Fool the first time around. Thanks to this wonderful edition you can avoid making that mistake.
Mark Joseph, producer, author, and columnist for USA Today