Whistling in the Dark (1988)

A Doubter's Dictionary

Book Description

A wry and thought-provoking jaunt through the spiritual terrain of our everyday language—a lexicon of uncommon insight to jar the mind and nourish the soul. "I think of faith as a kind of whistling in the dark, because in much the same way," writes Buechner, "it helps to give us courage and to hold the shadows at bay." […] The subtitle is 'A Doubter's Dictionary' because it is to doubters that this ABC is primarily directed: doubters both as those who are more or less outside the Church and also as those who are more or less inside but still wonder every once in a while if the whole religious enterprise has anything to do with reality. I believe that it does. I believe that no matter how tedious, unimaginative, banal, unconvincing, and seemingly irrelevant the Church's proclamation of the mystery of a loving God often is...that mystery is as much a part of reality as the air we breathe."
— Frederick Buechner in the Introduction to Whistling in the Dark


"Compelling and imaginative…uncovers bright patches of light and discloses wry kernels of wisdom and insight."
Chicago Tribune

"Ultimate justice would mean that [Buechner’s] books will be found in virtually every literate and civilized household in the United States.  That is what he deserves as a writer…a wise and witty book, written with that beauty of style that Buechner readers have learned to expect…pure delight." — The Chattanooga Times

"Whistling in the Dark is not so much a book to be read as savored. Buechner’s reflections and reminiscences are by turns moving, provocative, or fascinating—but always insightful. This could be called ‘devotional literature’ at its best…I find myself wanting to have it within easy reach for frequent treats of stimulation and fresh perspective."
— J. Randall Nichols, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Entertaining and useful…Buechner is very good at squeezing a lot of reflection into a few sentences…his insights, and expressions of them, are sharp."
The Milwaukee Journal