Walt Wangerin is a name I’ve seen in print many times. My dad had Ragman and Other Cries of Faith lying about at home for years and I remember thumbing through it at Christmas or Thanksgiving, reading bits here and there, and being intrigued by the style of writing; the words on the page had a canter to them, and a sparseness that gave them strength.
When my buddy Jason Gray let me borrow his first edition copy of The Book of the Dun Cow I was appreciative. Jason has recommended and/or given several books to me (The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, The Father Brown Omnibus, Helprin’s A Soldier of the Great War to name a few), and he hasn’t steered me wrong yet. When he told me that he and his family had read The Book of the Dun Cow aloud at Easter I was even more interested. I’d been working on songs with an Easter theme for a while, so I was curious to see how a novel about a boisterous rooster and his coop would tie in.
Chauntecleer, the main character, is unforgettable and utterly unique. I’ve read a lot of books over the years and I’ve never come across a character quite like Chauntecleer: admirable, courageous, self-sacrificing, irritable, cranky, and loud. (He reminded me of certain members of my family, to be honest.)
I’m sitting on the tour bus right now and it’s a little too distracting to dissect the book’s finer points. But I’ll tell you that the story is epic; the writing precise, colorful, masterful even; and while it’s no allegory for Christ’s death and resurrection (which I think is a good thing), it is a story of light overcoming a great darkness.
I just might read it again next year, around Easter.
As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.