fiction

Fictional pastors

Douglas Alan Walrath's astute survey of American novels about clergy is essential reading for budding pastors—as well as for anybody who wants to understand why we American clergy are the way we are.
April 10, 2011

Free for what?

Franzen has turned his considerable novelistic talents to a kind of inquisito­rial examination of the American ideal of freedom. He shows how freedom is negatively construed—focused on what we are free from and not on what freedom might be for, what worthy ends it might be used to pursue.
October 17, 2010

"Man is wolf to man," said Roman playwright Plautus, and novelist C. J. Sansom seems to agree. The main character in his historical novels, detective Matthew Shardlake, repeats the ancient adage three times in Dark Fire, the second novel in the Shardlake series.Through the first-person narratives of a 16th-century lawyer, Sansom gives fictional life to a gloomy but not hopeless view of human nature.In Dissolution, the first book, King Henry VIII closes a Benedictine monastery on England's Cornish coast as part of a massive seizure of church lands and properties. In Dark Fire, Henry fears that Catholic forces may revolt with a magical concoction, a jellied petroleum akin to napalm. In the newest book, Sovereign, the king makes a grand tour of his kingdom as a display of royal might and a warning to Catholic forces in the north.
May 1, 2007

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