In this stirring collection R. R. Reno -- a thoughtful, literate writer with a zest for physical and theological adventure -- looks back on his time working in the oil fields of Wyoming, his quests to the heights of Yosemite and the ice cliffs of the French Alps, his daughter's bat mitzvah, and more, rendering seven diverse "fragments of life" in energetic prose.Fighting the Noonday Devil
resounds with Reno's depth of feeling and regard for the tangible things of life. Through these narratives, vignettes, and reflections he shows that it is the real-life manifestations of love and loyalty -- far beyond intellectual abstractions or theories -- that train us for true piety.
Read a blog post from R. R. Reno on EerdWord
— author of Wayfaring and The Narnian
"Whether defending Jack Kerouac, describing work on a drilling rig, or narrating his reception into the Roman Catholic Church, Rusty Reno brings a writer's eye and a theologian's heart to the essayist's labors. Many rewards await the reader of this collection."
David K. Naugle
— author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness
"R. R. Reno's essays are intellectually stimulating, and some even possess cinematic possibilities. I find their Augustinian ethos deeply appealing in their consistent combination of wisdom and eloquence."
— coauthor of Prayer: A History
"In this smart and sparkling collection R. R. Reno applies his consummate literary skills to subjects as diverse as acedia, mountain climbing, religious conversion, Jack Kerouac, and interfaith marriage, uniting them under a single glorious banner, that of reclaiming the essential function of culture, the cultivation of the soul. A bravura performance."
James K. A. Smith
— author of The Devil Reads Derrida — and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts
"Fighting the Noonday Devil is the work of a 'pious intellect' in all the best senses of the term. . . Reno reads his life in parables in a way that provokes us to see our own lives anew. In him we find a voice and style in the best tradition of Newman — incisive, affecting, wise, inviting. I was captivated by this book."
"Reno writes thoughtfully and well, a true son of Montaigne, the French father of the essay. . . Reno's best essays plumb the hidden complexity behind the ostensibly simple and concrete: drinking with fellow oil workers in a bar, climbing in the French Alps in the dark. When Reno follows his own counsel against excessive theorizing, the result is satisfying, even touching."