The Entrance to Porlock (1970)

Book Description

“His fifth novel, The Entrance to Porlock, concerns a New Englander's 80th birthday, the family party and the trip everyone makes the next day to hand over his extensive mountain property to an old friend who runs a community for retarded adults. But essentially, this book is about the resentment and confusion that afflicts each member of the family and the small miracles that happen once they reach their destination.”
— James Weigel, Jr.

“There appears every now and again a lyrical, dreamlike novel that is more poem than prose, more parable than story. Such novels incapacitate conventional critical faculties; we do not understand and evaluate them rationally but rather are immersed, lulled, and transported, as in listening to music, into a shadowy world where feelings are evoked and nothing is explained. The Entrance to Porlock is that kind of novel. One is not sure after reading it whether one has read or imagined it. The contradictory sense of time contributes to this blurred impression. The entire novel takes place within 24 hours, but the movement in the characters' minds back and forth in time and the spiritual distance they travel makes the actual time span seem immeasurable.”
— Diana Loercher, Christian Science Monitor

“An eccentric old bookseller, Peter Ringkoping, who lives in New England and has won a certain fame as author of a book on ghosts he has seen, sets out on a journey with his two sons and grandson. Peter is 80 and has a stubborn notion to leave his land to a holy man he used to know who now runs a community for retarded adults. Ostensibly just an auto ride to see the man, in reality the journey is an odyssey wherein one son looks for self-respect, another for tenderness, Peter himself for the feeling of being inside life instead a ghost, while Tip, the grandson, pushes against his shell of alienation and burgeoning sexuality.”
— Mary Snead Boger, The Charlotte Observer

"The novel clearly posits one side of Buechner's preoccupations—his belief that the searches of life may end in a deepening self-knowledge, and he looks to fairy tale, Oz, more than to Christianity as a way to explore the idea…Peter is the Tin Man in search of a heart…Nels, the older of Peter's two sons, is a rigid headmaster of a boys' preparatory school, unmarried and obsessed with the fear of having a heart attack. He is the cowardly lion…Tommy [the younger son] is the irresponsible and insecure practical joker, the scarecrow seeking a brain…Tip, Tommy's son, has inherited his grandfather's mysticism and introspection, and is Dorothy seeking a home.”
— W. Dale Brown, The Book of Buechner


“In his new novel Frederick Buechner again shows his unique talent for making wonders real and the real wonderful.  The book opens up dimensions of our modern hurts and impasses that are missing from much of our fiction.”
— Amos N. Wilder

“...Like all of his fiction, it is a subtle, deliberate, patient attempt to arrive at the truth of things.”
— John Barkham, Saturday Review

“The intervals between Frederick Buechner's thoughtful, serious novels are too long for this reader…a novel of substance…”
Publishers' Weekly

“One of the finest pieces of imaginative prose I have come across for some time...a beautiful, thoughtful, and often witty novel whose music will, I am sure, reverberate in the imagination for a long time.”
— Vernon Scannell, The Irish Pre