Last night I finally read Mike Duran’s debut novel, The Resurrection.
It’s a Christian horror story (“…and they hired a MUSLIM plumber” heh. I kid.) and like any book found in the Christian Fiction market it wears its doctrine on its sleeve. Where else can you find a book where the villain is a Magic Negro trope who practices syncretism? Where else would an author even MENTION syncretism?!?
Update well, this is interesting. Looks as though I might be harboring some latent prejudice. In a conversation with the author he tells me that he never envisioned this character as being black. I guess I was really on a post-Shack high horse when I assumed that dark eyes and an Afro indicated a black man. My apologies to the general zeitgeist for my attitude, but more importantly to Mr. Duran for inferring an issue he had NOT created.
I did like the book, though, because it was compelling enough to keep me reading through a bad bout of chemo-related nausea, and that in and of itself is enough to warrant praise. But it also got me thinking.
I’ve read Mike’s blog for awhile now and he says over and over again that he hopes non-Christians read his book and are reached by it. Yet he still refuses to hide the aspirin in the pudding, as it were. He’s so upfront about the doctrine and theology woven into his story that he uses the book’s Afterward as a brief apologetic for an aspect of the story some Christians may find at odds with their belief.
Contrast that, if you will, with authors like Stephanie Meyer, Orson Scott Card, Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen King and scores of others whose books are rife with the author’s personal religious beliefs, but only if you know where to look and what you’re looking for. To this day I meet people who think there is NO Mormanism in Twilight, even though the entire series is Mormon to its core.
The worst non-Christian piece of proselytic fiction I’ve read to date still remains Mists of Avalon. Marion Zimmer Bradley either hates Christianity as a whole or just the part of the faith that drove the Druids out of Britain. Either way, the book is quite packed with her beliefs.
I suppose as disjointed as this post is, the point I’m trying to get across is that I’m not sure how I feel about authors who sneak their political and religious doctrines into an otherwise unmarked novel. At least Mike’s book is upfront with the fact that it is a Christian story.
I write. I know from personal experience that any work of fiction is going to contain pieces and parts of an author’s worldview. That’s often what I like about them, getting to see through another person’s eyes. But when a book (like Meyer’s) is clearly proselytizing I wish publishers would be honest about that.