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9.10.2009

review a review

Betty Carter has a review of Anne Rice's latest novel up at First Things. I've never read Anne Rice, but I'm continually fascinated by her. I saw the film 'Interview with a Vampire' and I remember my high school friends who were obsessed with her stories of dark, hopeless, 'omnisexual' vampiricism. I've read countless reviews of her work, both before and after her return to Catholicism, and it never seems possible for the reviewer to separate the experience of the novel from that of the author. Her newest book, Angel Time, is the same way. Reading the review, I confessed to some nervousness that a book about redemption and divine love could be pulled off without sounding trite. I've seen it often enough in Christian fiction. Carter even says as much in the review, and I quote this most especially because it refers to one of my favorite authors:

'Even the greatest writers struggle to describe human goodness, and very few (William Blake, Charles Williams) can speak of heavenly things without giving their audience the church giggles. There’s just something about an aura of divine love that stunts the human vocabulary.'

And yet, the books that DO succeed in describing human goodness, the ones that express the 'aura of divine love,' without giving divinity a bad name, those are the books I most love to read. Those are the ones that make it into my top ten. And if I'm honest, those are the kind of books I want to write myself. Will they be popular? Successful? Probably not. But Carter finished her review with a note of encouragement, speaking again more of Anne Rice than of her novels:

'Her biographies of Jesus were the heavenly work that called her away from the making and selling of bestsellers. With Lucky’s story, she tells us that serving God is more satisfying than serving the Right Man—or the right critics, or even the right readers. Sneer if you want, but it’s hard not to envy her.'

Thank you for the reminder.

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