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The distinctly elegiac tone of this volume of reminiscences, poetry and fiction is established in the introduction, where the author confesses that while he can still produce the component parts, crafting a book is, at least at the moment, beyond him. But the octogenarian Buechner, a Presbyterian minister and author of more than 30 nonfiction and fictional works, is still a masterful writer, whose often whimsical descriptions of personalities and places do not mask his inexorable, sometimes self-deprecating candor and elegant restraint. Although the topics of his character sketches are as diverse as the poet Maya Angelou and the professors at the boarding school he attended, it is his family whose ghosts throng the pages of this volume. In these small prose gems Buechner brings his relatives to vivid life: the grandfather who made and lost a fortune, the grandmother who held court at Park Avenue and, always, the father whose suicide marks Buechner's work like a still-open wound. Buechner fans, whose numbers are legion, will find many small pleasures, leaves still fresh and green among the relics. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.