Friday, July 18, 2014

Faith in Literature

After my rant about substandard writing in Christian romances, I thought I'd create a list of classics that skillfully portray the intense Christian beliefs of their central characters without nauseating the reader.

The Warden  by Trollope (my review here)
The Dean's Watch by Goudge (my review here)
Gilead by Robinson (my review here)
Cry, the Beloved Country by Paton (my review here)
Middlemarch by Eliot (my review here)
Jane Eyre  by Brontë (my review here)
Silence by Endo (my review here)

Marvin Olasky (in the June 28 issue of World Magazine) listed his ten favorite Christian fiction authors: Randy Alcorn, Don Brown, Tim Downs, Brian Godawa, Steven James, Ray Keating, John K. Reed, Randy Singer, Dave Swavely and Bret Lott. (I have not read ANY of these guys, but wonder if they lean toward more guy-friendly stories.)

Do you have any recommendations for novels (new or old) that show faith in God in a positive, convincing way?

(For more suggestions on faith in literature, the list of "100 Authors of Faith" at has always intrigued me. I've only read about a dozen of them so far.)


Cathy said...

Thanks for these recommendations. I've only read Jane Eyre, which is one of my favorite novels. I do have Middlemarch but have been a bit intimidated by its length. One day I'll get to it!

I'm stopping by from the 'Saturday Review of Books' link-up. : )

Sherry said...

I've read a couple by Randy Singer and one by Stephen James, but I wasn't all that impressed.

I would suggest, for contemporary authors, Jamie Langston Turner and Athol Dickson.

Also, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger:

Dancing Priest and A Light Shining by Glynn Young

Sherry said...

As for classics, there is of course Les Miserables and all of Dickens.
Beside the Bonnie Briar Bush by Ian McClaren
The Little Minister by JM Barrie
Adam Bede by George Eliot
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Oh, and to go back to Mr. Olasky's list, I do like Brett Lott's Jewel.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I second Sherry's recommendations of Langston Turner, Dickson, and Enger.

I also loved (LOVED) City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell:

Farm Girl said...

I have read some of the authors in Marvin Olasky's list. Can I be blunt? I really do not enjoy today's Christian fiction authors.
I find the stories to be contrived and shocking and for the most part preaching to the choir.
The Scent of Water and Green Dolphin Street continue to haunt me. I really have enjoyed the list you posted. I guess I just prefer the kinds of books that are at the heart, full of wisdom that is lacking in the culture today.

Anonymous said...

I've read some Randy Alcorn novels (Dominion, Deadline) they're reasonably good, if not exactly classics.

Nothing, in my opinion, will make a reader drop a book faster than being preached at - regardless of the dogma being preached.

Or, of course, being presented with an annoyingly 'perfect' character who always reacts in the approved Christian way. I may be a barbarian, but if I encounter a character of such sickly sweetness I generally assume they're faking it and hope they get a pie in the face right speedily.

As a writer myself, I don't set out to contrive something specifically Christian, or something which will preach - I just write from my own worldview, which is heavily influenced by my Christian faith.

Kate Scott said...

Jane Eyre is the best–probably my favorite novel of all time.

It's a shame all the authors on the list are men. There are some really good female Christian authors out there that don't write romance. Brandilyn Collins comes to mind, and I'm surprised J. Mark Bertrand didn't make his list.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I have read all of Randy Alcorn's novels. My favorite is about the two men who were college roomates, one now a successful American and the other a Chinese man who works a humble job because he is a Christian.

It is a fascinating account of the difference Christians face in the two countries. It is called Safely Home. But all of his fiction is good as is his nonfiction (his book, Heaven, being the most famous I expect).

LOVE Goudge!