Monday, March 17, 2008

PW's Religion Bookline for Weds March 12 notes:-

The Emmaus Readers: Listening for God in Contemporary Fiction
Edited by Gary Schmidt and Susan Felch. Paraclete, $17.95 paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-55725-543-3
It's rare for an edited anthology to be consistently good, let alone exceptional, but this unassuming collection of essays on 12 novels with religious themes offers rich satisfaction. The essayists—all Calvin College professors and staff members—formed a group called "the Emmaus readers" in 2006 to better understand the role of faith in creating and interpreting fiction. The novels include overtly religious books, like Mr. Ives' Christmas and Mariette in Ecstasy, as well as less predictable choices, like Life of Pi and the graphic novel Road to Perdition. Each chapter offers a plot synopsis, an analysis, questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading. Readers will be introduced to some novels for the first time, and will attain deeper understandings of others they already love. Fans of Peace Like a River, for example, will delight in exploring the biblical and literary allusions of Leif Enger's Midwestern masterpiece, and many who neglected P.D. James's Children of Men will expand their understanding of her story's projected dystopia. Perhaps the Emmaus readers can pen a sequel taking on novels by the likes of Graham Greene, Chaim Potok, Gail Godwin or Vinita Hampton Wright. (May)

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