During the first part of last year I read mostly Christian fiction. Most books were enjoyable, one or two made me cringe with embarrassment. I couldn’t say that any was of exceptional literary quality.
This year my year has started with a lot of “literary” fiction and in most cases there is a significantly higher quality of writing compared to last year’s Christian novels. So I need to ask:
Where is the quality, well-written, literary standard fiction written by Christians?
I want to find it.
I want to read it.
Lyrical, lush and poetic in descriptions of both beauty and horror, the book rings with honesty, moving the reader through a range of emotions without a hint of manipulation.
That is how I described Nadeem Aslam’s The Blind Man’s Garden after reading the first 100 pages. And the description remains relevant now that I’ve finished the book.
The title of this post comes from a part of the dialogue between two characters and conveys the fragility and uncertainty of life caused by the invasion of Afghanistan by American forces. A conflict that spills out from the recognised battle front and over geographical borders to affect the lives of average people in nearby regions, sandwiched between the forces of extremist religion and extreme nationalism their homelands become the venue of a fight they didn’t seek.
Aslam is an author I’ll certainly read again, I’ll be looking out for his other books. I’ve had a look on the Book Depository site and have added them to my wishlist. One is still available in hardcover which is my preference, but for the cost of that I could buy two novels in paperback. I have to decide which path to take, whether I’d eventually regret the paperback option.
Here is a link to a recording of Aslaam talking about The Blind Man’s Garden (22 mins).
A short visit to the National Gallery of Australia on the weekend was very inspiring, especially a painting called “Arena” by Robert Ryman (see right).
At first I didn’t understand its importance, but a friend set me on the right path. My initial eye-rolling cynicism was turned around by my friend who said my attitude was similar to those who had dismissed earlier artistic greats.
Severely chastised, I repented of my philistine ways and took my friend’s views on board – and WHAT AN EYE OPENER!
My unproductive decades as an author are over. Since the weekend I’ve completed the first of what is likely to be many novels. As a tribute to Ryman I have borrowed his title for this breakthrough literary masterpiece.
To give a foretaste here are the first two pages of my novel Arena.
The remaining 998 pages can be purchased at a cost of $10 per page. What a BARGAIN for a genuine literary milestone.