Genre-wise, The Pilgrim is Americana and recent historical fiction. It will hold special appeal for those interested in Perry County, baseball, music, and the range of society spanning German immigrant families, hobos, beatniks, and bohemians in the 1960s. Portraying much of the grittiness of real life, Baue writes about a young man from a Lutheran German immigrant family who pursues a life of non-conformity, sex, drugs, and rock & roll.
The book begins with small town life and family baseball, but music quickly comes to the center. Fred Baue obviously knows his stuff as a musician—listener and player—and the life of a young musician in the 1960s provides plenty of fodder for plot and character development.
The musical aspects are worth repeated examination, as they tie together history and culture in a particularly friendly, engaging way, while offering solid suggestions for expanding your play list. If you are an avid musician, many names will pop out while others you’ll jot down to look up later. Performers and daydreamers, however, will not see an over-glorified picture of recording life.
The Pilgrim follows the “geographical, intellectual and spiritual sojourns of Paul Gottleib, a young musician searching for reality in the cultural maelstrom of the 1960s San Francisco music scene” according to its Amazon blurb. What it doesn’t say is that Baue offers a very human treatment toward Perry County, a major historical hub of American Lutheranism, while exploring baseball, music, the draft, and beatnik and other influences on a young man’s soul.
The book followings a young man who leaves Perry County, Missouri, and his American-German family to find life and himself. He meets hobos and all sorts, learning various types of music, hopping from couch to coffee houses along the way. In San Francisco he founds a successful fusion rock band, “The Pilgrims,” just in time for the 1967 Summer of Love, but the story doesn’t stop there. Things get real so that “pilgrim” describes more than his band.
The preface gives details about the structure and setting for the rest of the series, The Diamond Quintet, with more family baseball to come, and Baue’s section subtitled “Toward a Theology of Fiction” is well worth consideration.
Ladies and gentlemen, shouldn’t we put together a book of essays, Toward a Theology of Fiction?!
Congratulations, Rev. Dr. Baue, on your recent release! May God continue to richly bless you and yours!