Friday, June 24, 2016

Does fiction lie, or tell truth through lies?

When I was a kid, writing and telling stories and dreaming of being a famous author one day, my brother told me girls could only be author-ess-es. The word was too hard to say. I decided he was wrong.

One day I showed him one of my written stories, instead of just telling my curious tale out loud. He wasn't impressed. He told me fiction is lying, and lying is sin. But fiction was so much a part of me, I had to believe my brother was wrong again.

He's now a retired teacher of history and politics, belongs to a writing group, and occasionally pens some really intriguing fiction. Meanwhile I still weave my webs of lies, trying to let the story reveal the truth behind, and dreaming of being a famous author still - not an authoress!

And I'm writing book reviews, so find a coffee, join me and choose your read.

Where Love Illumines by Donna Fletcher Crow is a beautifully researched story of the early days of Methodism. My beloved Cambridge plays its part, and feels evocatively real. A story that rings true, that surely can't be entirely the truth (for who can know the inner thoughts of a woman falling in love or falling into faith), and that imparts an important truth to the reader, in the guise of fiction. No, it's not lying. And yes, it's a really cool read (my Mum says so too!). So pour a mug of rich elegant four-star coffee and enjoy.

Etched In History by Amanda Marie is another novel of historical Christianity, set this time in the US, following the trials of two displaced families, one of farmers and one of former slaves, as they settle in a small town in Oregon. It's a tale of travel, sickness, healing, love and prejudice, told with sympathy and some great (if slightly long) wedding sermons! Enjoy with some full-flavored three-star coffee, though the balance is awkward at times.

Unholy Trinity by K. R. Morrison starts further in the past, offering an enjoyably nuanced version of the Biblical Cain and Abel story, and threading some serious scares in the growth of evil. A trinity of tales reveals an unholy trinity of souls, and covers the centuries from creation to Vlad the Impaler. Details are nicely researched and convincing, and the blend of history and horror might best be enjoyed with some fine dark five-star coffee.

Stephen England's Embrace the Fire, by contrast, is set close to the present day, in a world beset by terror threats, corrupt politicians, media frenzies and all the paraphernalia of present pain. I'm including it here because the author offers nicely nuanced and sympathetic insights into the faiths of people on all sides of different terrors, while following the protagonist's inexorable path to revenge, and leaving open, always, the question of whether a divine power really does take a hand. It's set in England, and it's distinctly unsettling. Enjoy with some dark five-star coffee. It definitely offers a sense of truth through the "lies" of fiction.



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