We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

‘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. In his gorgeous memoir, Philip Yancey finally reveals the story behind his relentless quest to separate a true faith from its counterfeit. He learned the value of grace - because he was denied it. This stunning tale reminds us that the only way to keep living is to ask God for the impossible: love, forgiveness, and hope.
Kate Bowler, New York Times bestselling author of Everything Happens for a Reason and The Preacher’s Wife
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 invites comparison to Hillbilly Elegy.
Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
One of the world's finest Christian writers has written his most personal and gripping book. 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. Where the Light Fell is the book Philip Yancey had to write, and the book we needed him to write.
Peter Wehner, former senior White House advisor; Contributing Writer, The Atlantic and New York Times
a compelling and well-written account.
Woman Alive Magazine