Where the Light Fell: A Memoir

Where the Light Fell:
A Memoir

Philip Yancey

The unlikely origin story of one of today’s bestselling Christian writers

‘Not until college days do I discover the shocking secret of my father’s death.’

With a journalist’s background, Philip Yancey is widely admired for taking on the more difficult and confusing aspects of faith. Now in Where the Light Fell he shares, for the first time, the painful details of his own origins – taking us on an evocative journey from the backwoods and Bible-belt pockets of the South to the bustling streets of Philadelphia; from trailer parks to church parking lots; from dark secrets and family oddballs to fire-and-brimstone preachers and interminable church services. Raised by their impoverished single mother, Philip and his brother Marshall struggle to comprehend her speeches about their dead father, an Old Testament Bible story, and sons sacrificed for a divine cause.


This coming-of-age story is a slice of life, both intensely personal and broadly resonant, set against a turbulent time in post-WWII American history shaped by the racism and paranoia of fundamentalist Christianity and reshaped by the mounting pressures of the Civil Rights movement and 60s-era forces of social change. An unforgettable read, it is at once hugely funny, deeply disturbing, and achingly poignant. A testament to the power of the human spirit, Where the Light Fell illuminates Yancey’s ability to bring comfort to those bruised by the church, and hope to those who can’t imagine ever finding a healthy faith.


‘Searing. Heartrending… [a] gorgeous memoir. ‘
Kate Bowler, New York Times bestselling author


‘A gripping memoir … Yancey’s eloquent descriptions of coming to faith and his exacting self-examination make this a standout. Exploring the corrosive role of fear in faith, Yancey’s piercing and painful account invite comparison to Hillbilly Elegy.’ Publishers Weekly (Starred review)


‘Where the Light Fell is a stunning memoir – beautifully written, transparent and vulnerable, raw and honest, evocative and unforgettable. It is a story of pain and redemption, of shattered lives and healing grace. Yancey’s remarkable ministry of empathy and grace can’t be understood apart from the wounds he sustained during his early life. His gifts have been shaped by his scars.’
Peter Wehner former senior White House advisor, writer for The Atlantic and New York Times


Philip Yancey is one of the most popular and acclaimed religious writers of our day. His searching and refreshingly honest books, which include FINDING GOD IN UNEXPECTED PLACES, SOUL SURVIVOR, PRAYER, and WHAT GOOD IS GOD? have encouraged and inspired millions of people
around the world.


With a background in journalism, Philip admits that he prefers to ask the questions instead of answering them. This has led him through a path of rediscovering his faith and sharing that publicly through his writing in some of the most heart-felt and tried ways imaginable. A true wordsmith, a curator of language, Philip tackles difficult issues with an approach of ‘this is what I’ve wrestled with and how I got through it so perhaps you might find it helpful too’ making his reading incredibly engaging.


Philip admits that he lost his faith in a racist church and made a living out of being a doubter and skeptic. After he came back to his faith, he wrote books about his journey by ‘circling the edges’ of common issues and eventually moving on to topics like Jesus, grace, and most recently prayer.


Billy Graham has said that there is no one in the evangelical world whom he admires more.

Written By: Rachael Duncan

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