… Godric. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Written as the hermit’s memoir, dictated late in life to his disciple Reginald of Coldingham, whose contemporary Latin manuscript is the historical source of knowledge about Godric’s life, Buechner’s novel is at its best in detailing the unwilling saint’s war within:
I can no longer hold my water and itch in places I haven’t scratched these twenty years for the clownish stiffness in my bones. It’s Reginald that has to swab my bum and deems the task a means of grace. I’ve got an old dam’s dugs. My privities hang loose as poultry from a hook. My head wags to and fro. There’s times my speech comes out so thick and gobbled I’d as well to save my wind. But the jest is bitterer yet, for deep inside this wrecked and ravaged hull, there sails a young man still.