Faith Interrupted

Knopf, 2010

A profoundly personal, deeply felt exploration of the mystery of faith—having it, losing it, hoping for its return. The son of an Episcopal priest whose faith is balanced by an understanding of human nature, Eric Lax develops in his youth a deep religious attachment and acute moral compass. An acolyte from age six and as comfortable in church as he is at home, he often considers becoming a priest himself. Eventually his faith guides him to resist military service in Vietnam. His principles will not allow him to kill, and he is willing to go to jail for them. His faith abides until, in his mid-thirties, he begins to question the unquestionable: the role of God in his life. Whatever his doubts, Lax engages with his father, who shaped his faith and was its anchor, and his college roommate and close friend George “Skip” Packard, whose youthful faith mirrored his own, and who chooses military service and mortal combat. Their ongoing and illuminating dialogues—full of wisdom and insight, probing all the avenues and aspects of religious conviction—reveal much about three men who approach God, duty, and war in vastly different ways. A compelling, powerful, and thought-provoking examination of faith.

Praise for Faith Interrupted

“A poignant, sensitive and thoughtful memoir that illuminates the complexity of the phenomenon that we call faith and delineates its flow and ebb.”—Karen Armstrong, author of The Case for God

“Spiritual memoirs rarely command the same interest to others as they do for their authors, but Lax’s ability as a writer, as evidenced by his studies of Woody Allen, among other writings, makes his memoir an exception. Lax’s story is that of a devout Episcopalian whose sense of faith led him to oppose the Vietnam War; that faith, which had bolstered him through many struggles, faded to an abiding sense of uncertainty. Lax realizes, at last, that the very qualities that might make God worth finding also make God hard to find—and hard to believe in unquestioningly. VERDICT Lax’s journey, told with a fine sense of narrative shape, is a kind of paradigm of the spiritual struggles of the first wave of the Baby Boom and will speak eloquently to that generation.”
—Library Journal

“A deeply moving account of one man’s spiritual journey.” —Booklist

“An intriguing coming of age story set against the backdrop of the Vietnam era…fascinating…artfully folding in another’s story, and alternate course, with the author’s own.”—Kirkus Reviews

“An intelligent, elegantly composed and open-hearted memoir. . . . Valuable, even instructive. . . . [Lax] is a writer of gentle precision and 
—Los Angeles Times

“Lax has written a steady, quiet love letter to a faith he has lost. . . . Sympathetic and engrossing.” 
—The New York Times Book Review

“Candid and heartful. . . . Faith, Interrupted resonates because Lax confronts questions common to believers everywhere, and he does it without pomposity, self-righteousness, or condescension.” 

“A gentle, rueful book . . . Lax’s polished writing style and lack of assurance that he has all the answers are . . . definite pluses.” 
—The Christian Science Monitor

“Heartfelt. . . . An honest and affecting memoir.” 
—Boston Globe

“Lax is a good storyteller, careful with words and reflective of the many ways in which he has had to ponder the eternal questions. This is not a book that ends with faith restored, God in God’s heaven and everything right with the world. But it is a book in which faith is taken seriously and, in the end, respected, even if the author cannot count himself among the faithful.” 
—Faith Matters

“Insightful. . . . Although this book is as much about a fascinating life 
as it is about religion, it will appeal to a wide audience both for its 
engaging subject matter and first-rate writing.” 
—National Catholic Reporter

“Vietnam . . . was at the core of the experience [Lax] recounts as part 
of his spiritual journey. . . . This book brings back with warmth, 
compassion and riveting detail what those days were like. . . . [A] 
deeply touching and personal meditation.” 
—The Globe and Mail

“Eric Lax’s moving and riveting memoir reflects a Christian boy’s struggle with faith and doubt, tradition and discovery. His encounters with other beliefs reflect as well his sense of empathy for, and solidity with, victims of destiny.” 
—Elie Wiesel

“Jesus said that he who would save his life must lose it. Does that go for faith, too? Do you have to lose it to save it? If there is any single question that Eric Lax’s luminously honest loss-of-faith memoir most clearly raises, this would be it. We live in two faith cultures. One culture only wants to hear how you lost your faith, the other only how you found it. But some of us have a foot in both cultures: dubious as plain believers, equally dubious as plain unbelievers. Eric Lax’s unfinished, interrupted story is a good one for us, and for better or worse our name is Legion.” 
—Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

“In an age when it’s so fashionable to mock religious belief, Eric Lax gives us a quiet, very moving meditation on his own spiritual trials and turns.” 
—Paul Hendrickson, author, The Living and the Dead