Thursday, January 12, 2006

3 Reasons River Rises to the Top

The beginning of a new year is a time of wonder and hope. We wonder how the coming months will affect our lives. We hope they affect us for good. for Good.  And whether Bethany House Publishers planned the release of Athol Dickson's River Rising was a calculated move or not, it was a very good move.
 
In fact this move is impressive, because I believe this will be the best published book of 2006 for three reasons:
 
1. Relevance in Timing
 
We live in an America that has split itself in half over poverty, over race, over politics and over our faith. The Alito Justice confirmation hearings, Walmart's plan to veto a judgment against them for not providing a fairer health care plan for its employees, New Orleans reconstruction, and W. Bush calling for Harry Belafonte's Visa for visiting and befriending Venezuelan President Chavez to name a few are all January examples of an American ideology division.

River Rising explores a similiar division--race and class in Louisiana. But it also provides a hope in it's plot and character development that one day things will be better. The final chapter reminds me of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s I have a dream speech when Jean Tibbetts stands on the boardwalk and observes the citizens of Pilotville. We need that kind of hope, to keep ourself out of that muddle. We need it now more than ever.


 
2. Setting Serendipity
 
River Rising is set in Louisiana and involves a hurricane. 2005's Hurricane Katrina is one of the worst natural and cultural disasters in American history. The book was written before the hurricanes, so I believe this good accident is laced in the Divine.
 
3. Christian Fiction
 
We often discuss what is Christian Fiction. What should it contain? River Rising answers that question for me and hopefully for you. The prose, the character, and the embodiment of this novel evokes a faith in a living breathing Christ. From the final page of chapter one to the final page of the book readers will know that there is another major character in this novel that does not have a name, but a very strong presence that moves inside and around Reverend Hale Poser. The diction Dickson uses to define Poser's interpretation of life, Poser's view of a space or a life personifies God. This book reads like a long praying parable.
 
I want to talk more about this book throughout the year and some short stories I have read, books I will be reading and movies and plays will be released. And I want to set this book against it as a benchmark. Because...Christian Fiction Blog/Gospelfiction.com celebrates Christ through literature, movies, drama and love. And this book testifies to our creed.
 
River Rising (Dickson, Athol)Book Description
Welcome to Pilotville, Louisiana, 1927, isolated outpost on the Mississippi River--a stilt village bounded by swampland to the horizon, accessible only by boat, an island of brotherly love in a sea of racism. Meet Hale Poser, a stranger with a bad hip who’s come looking for his roots--a humble man, a righteous man, a miracle man. In the swamp beyond the cypress and the tupelo and veiled by Spanish moss lies a lingering evil. For years it slept in dreadful isolation. Now comes Hale Poser, and it will sleep no more. It will rain down on Pilotville, it will rise up like a river, and nothing but a miracle can stop this awful flood.
 
Question: Should Christian Fiction facilitate a space for the Holy Spirit to touch us?
 
Dee
 
 
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4 comments:

lindaruth said...

The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it! But it's not in the library yet -- bummer. I may have to break down and buy it.

La Monica R. Smith said...

In answer to your question, I believe the Holy Spirit will facilitate a space for Christian fiction to touch us [writers] as well as our readers. And that'll only happen if we're obedient to His leading.

Dee said...

Linda, I'm not a bandwagon fan and usually when I hear more than three people applaud a book I become a bit suspicious. Maybe that's why I'm not a Left Behind fan. I won't give them a fair chance and that's not good.

But I received this book around last October and so I've been waiting to talk about it.

Lamonica, you are so right. We have to be in his will to be lead by the Spirit to write with his purpose for our words in mind. Perhaps we should fast and pray before we begin a work.

Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system as we are in a major crisis and health insurance is a major aspect to many.

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