Cover image for Of fiction and faith : twelve American writers talk about their vision and work
Title:
Of fiction and faith : twelve American writers talk about their vision and work
Author:
Brown, W. Dale.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Grand Rapids, Mich. : W.B. Eerdmans Pub., [1997]

©1997
Physical Description:
ix, 269 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780802843135
Format :
Book

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PS374.R47 B76 1997 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

Of Fiction and Faith features personal interviews with twelve of America's most significant writers, interviews which provide a window into the personal and literary lives of writers with special focus on their attitudes towards issues of faith.


Reviews 1

Booklist Review

That you don't have to bear the Christian novelist label to write fiction informed by Christianity seems too obvious to be discussed. Brown discusses it, anyhow, with a dozen writers whose fiction specifically Christian bookstores seldom stock--a fact that bemuses some of them but which Garrison Keillor doesn't mourn at all. Spurred to talk about Christianity in their work, all 12 engage in riveting conversation that is less concerned with the writing biz or highfalutin aesthetics than with the human elements that go into writing fiction and the human effects that writing has upon readers and the writers themselves. Adding interest to many interviews are their subjects' other activities--Will Campbell, the model for the Reverend Will B. Dunn in the comic strip "Kudzu," for instance, is as Brown characterizes him, "a maverick Baptist preacher" whose civil rights activism and yen for country music stardom also distinguish him. Brown's other 10 informants are Doris Betts, Frederick Buechner, Robert Olen Butler, Elizabeth Dewberry, Clyde Edgerton, Denise Giardina, Robert Goldsborough, Jon Hassler, Peggy Payne, and Walter Wangerin. Fiction by one of Brown's subjects, Robert Olen Butler, appears in the first section, "Mystery," of editors Maney and Hazuka's selection of "short fiction on faith." The other four sections are titled after other concerns religion typically addresses--"Doubt," "Evil," "The Supernatural," and "Reconciliation." Maney and Hazuka's operating definition of faith is ecumenical, and stories influenced by Judaism, Islam, Taoism, American Indian religion, and ancestor worship all appear. There are five stories in each section; their authors include Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Zora Neale Hurston, Flannery O'Connor, E. M. Forster, Bernard Malamud, Stephen King, Frank O'Connor, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alice Walker, and others who probably will be, if they aren't already, as celebrated. Joyful Noise is an intriguing project, a set of essays by mostly young writers in response to the editors' request to write about something in the New Testament or being a Christian. Benjamin Cheever writes edgily about his middle-class relationship with the faith, from childhood to his present midlife church attendance, happy but conscious of being "an outsider" in polite society. Joseph Caldwell (one of the few not-young writers who offer "a kind of leadership," says coeditor Moody) mulls over the decidedly ambivalent character of the disciple whom Jesus chose as the rock on which to build the church. Ann Powers considers the boy Jesus in the temple, or, as her essay's title puts it, "Teenage Jesus," beginning with her own teenage arguments about God with her father. A fresh, sometimes cheeky, sometimes earnest collection. --Ray Olson