cover image Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace

Miz Lil and the Chronicles of Grace

Walter Wangerin, Jr.. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-06-069267-4

This collection of 12 independent, autobiographical tales takes the shape of a spiritual quest, ``the experience of seeking meaning in everyday events.'' Wangerin, formerly a Lutheran pastor, and author of the award-winning The Book of the Dun Cow , presents a mosaic of growing up American, the first child of a peripatetic cleric, and the subsequent turning points of his development through adolescence and young adulthood are marked in vignettes of significant encounters. Alternating between child and adult, these simply told stories are memorials to grace-filled events. Particularly so is the title story, widely excerpted, a moving account of Wangerin's beginning as a pastor of a small, black congregation in Evansville, Ind., where, from a remarkable old woman the young pastor receives ``the holy benevolence of her words,'' as Miz Lil deals with her own grief. Warm with self-effacing humor and human understanding, these are stories in the vein of Ragman and the Other Cries of Faith. (Nov.)