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kenmorefield

Christian Fiction

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Wow, I didn't know Jimmy Fallon had mentioned it.

 

Also, I thought it was a parody at first too.  But if you look closer at it, it does not appear to be.  Reading just a few of the Amazon user reviews (5 star reviews), it seems that someone came up with the title as a joke in the publishing industry, but then the author liked the title and took it seriously.  More than one of the reviews even comment on how humorless the book is.

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J.A.A. Purves wrote:
: . . . it seems that someone came up with the title as a joke in the publishing industry, but then the author liked the title and took it seriously.

 

How very Val Lewton. (Maybe?)

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Overstreet wrote:

 

So, Amish Vampires in Space, a "Christian fiction" book that I'm assuming is a parody, got used as an easy joke on Fallon.

 

While I remain dubious about the combination of elements in this title--especially Amish fiction & vampires...in space--I have read one Amish vampire novel (YA) that worked better than I expected it would. The original version was set among a Huguenot-type sect, which I thought was more interesting, but in the currently available edition of Shelley Adina's Immortal Faith, the heroine & her community are "Old Order Mennonite", because that's the trend. Still, it's better than Twilight.

 

Adina's YA steampunk romances are good fun.

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I was certain we had a thread on the whole "novels of belief" discussion, but I can't find it beyond a brief mention above. So I'll just leave this here.

 

I write for many of the same reasons that I wanted to become a priest. I want to bear witness to a sacramental vision. I want to admit my life as a sinner. Rather than judge others, I want to use empathy to sketch their imperfect lives on the page, and find the God that I know resides within them. Similar to the life of a priest, there is a space for silence in my writing life, but also a time of engagement with both reader and place.

 

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Not sure where else to put this, but in the past week I've listened to two audiobooks from 2014  with faith as their major theme:

 

High As the Horses' Bridle by Scott Cheshire and To Rise Again at A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris. (Also in the mix was Fourth of July Creek by Henderson Smith, which features a protagonists's ex-wife begging him to go to church with her).

 

As a tl;dr shorthand, Cheshire reminds me a ton of Lethem and it is not just the Queens setting.  I feel like I've read a ton of similar books over the years (disregarding the faith part)--Lethem, Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel, the early Richard Price, Sam Lipsyte, Gary Shteyngart, even Chabon's Wonder Boys and a hundred others--and it is always tough to stick the landing at the end. The ending for this book was perfect and didn't feel like someone recreating how the ending of a good movie feels.

 

Because it deals with Judaism and anti-Semitsism, it feels cheap to compair the Ferris books to Philip Roth, but I've listened to a ton of Roth on audiobook as well this year and the comparison holds. The term gimmick seems pejorative, but it reminds me of Roth's gimmick books in a good way. The few reviews I've seen of this one call it boring (and I agree that the experience reading versus listening can differ), but I was completely intrigued by the mystery aspect throughout the first two thirds of the book.

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 The few reviews I've seen of this one call it boring (and I agree that the experience reading versus listening can differ), but I was completely intrigued by the mystery aspect throughout the first two thirds of the book.

I'm glad you mentioned this. It's Ferris' latest, right? I had listened to his previous book and was ambivalent; reviewers were aghast that it wasn't funny, as his best-known book apparently is. I did look up the newest book not long after its release, but the library didn't have an audio copy. Time to check again. 

 

However, that "throughout the first two thirds" comes across as unintentionally damning. Did the air come out? Was the resolution unacceptable? I get the sense you liked the book, so that last bit threw me.

 

EDIT: Just checked and the new Ferris audiobook is at the library. And it's available. It's mine! 

Edited by Christian

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The mystery definitely peters out, but it works ok. The book has a gimmick/elevator pitch at its core for the first 2/3 (who is impersonating online a guy who claims to hate social media?) that is about as implausible as "why did this guy turn into a cockroach?" but it works.

 

Once you listen to a few audibooks, you know all the narrators (I love Tom Stechschulte and have punched a dashboard when I learned I was stuck with stupid George Guidall again), but the Hollywooders do a good job when summoned, and Campbell Scott is just about perfect.

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Thanks. I confess that, for as many audiobooks as I listen to, I don't keep track of narrators I do and don't care for. I start into each book, hear the narrator, and sometimes the voice rings a bell -- but I can't remember from which earlier audiobook, and therefore can't remember what I think of the narrator. What I think becomes apparent soon enough, but based on the current book I'm listening to. 

 

There are a few exceptions to this rule. The one that comes to mind, Dion Graham, did a terrible job with the recent (or second most recent) George Pelecanos book, but then crushed it with Miles: The Autobiography. (I'm not sure which he recorded first.) So I guess my point is that, even when I remember I don't care for a narrator, he/she can turn it around with the next book.

Edited by Christian

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I've created a dedicated thread for Ferris' book. I was going to move a few related posts to that new thread, but I haven't done that sort of thing in many months and, in searching for the right command/icon to click, was stumped. I'll step away for a bit and come back to this thread later, when that function will magically appear in some obvious place.

Edited by Christian

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