message of comfort and edification is a rarity–a holy grail for those
of us who are both Christians and writers.
Lewis created it, and Tolkein, and Bunyan.
I read Shadowmancer by G.P. Taylor to Irene, then 8 and she was
gripped by it. I heard him speak at New Wine, and he is a charming and
hilarious speaker. It is well-constructed certainly, by the old
rules. Each chapter has a gripping climax, and you end it with your
heart in your throat. Irene can hardly bear for a chapter to end. All
the same, though the blurb calls it children’s fiction, children’s
fiction it most certainly is not.
There is a sense of evil, casual cruelty, menace, and threat that
disturbs my soul and its equilibrium The fate of noble Raphah, the
Christ-figure is almost too painful. What I do like a lot, even though it is
overt, is the casual quotation from Scripture. Taylor has
evidently immersed himself in it, which not all Anglican vicars, I daresay, have
and it spills forth, soothing the soul.
Good Christian fiction I can recommend includes Marilynne Robinson’s
“Gilead.” She has a good man, a truly good man, as a protagonist,
Reverend Ames. Not an over-wound, passionate Christian, he
is probably a Christian with a small c, but the goodness of the gospel
has soaked through him, He is decent, trustworthy, someone
for whom it would be an effort to behave badly. Christianity is so
woven into the fabric of his life that is what he is– a Christian
almost without any overt effort on his part, an “anima naturaliter
Christiana.” A naturally Christian soul!
“Peace like a River” by Leif Enger has another kind of Christian as a
protagonist. Jeremiah Land, like Reverend Ames is someone whose first
reaction is to pray (as it is increasingly becoming mine). When his
hothead son murders bullies who abused his little sister, we see
Jeremiah deep in prayer. Land is someone who experiences miracles as a
second language. Peace like a River is a startling, and successful
attempt to bring the miraculous into the realm and discourse of