Harold L. Weatherby
[The remarkable quality of Lytle's memoir, A Wake for the Living, is how] Lytle's dead ancestors exert an almost frightening pressure upon the living; as one reads he could almost wish them further away and less vivid…. The storyteller's art recovers for us the lives of [those] whom the world calls the dead but whom we know, through that art, to be alive in the mysterious way that the past always is. (p. 674)
Lytle's treatment of the living past [includes] philosophical concern. Indeed it is the conjunction of experience and meaning—represented stylistically by the easy alternation between story and commentary—which gives A Wake for the Living its distinction. By taking the past...
(The entire section is 524 words.)