5 Classic Faith-Based Novels
After reading two straight novels about priests and the Catholic Church, I thought now is as good a time as any to take a look at some of the more impactful faith-based works of fiction over the years.
I think the most successful novels that deal with spirituality are the ones that don’t beat you over the head with it. If they have a point, they make it subtly and still leave the story open for interpretation. Nobody wants to feel like they are being preached to while reading a novel.
Death Comes for the Archbishop would fall into this category. But since I just reviewed it recently, I thought I’d take a look at 5 other novels. All but one of them are on the Time list.
The Power and the Glory: As I’ll be reviewing this novel tomorrow, I won’t go into detail here. But Graham Greene really hits a nerve with this one. The tension of a Catholic priest as a refugee is an intriguing set up. The story is fast-moving and beautifully written.
The Chronicles of Narnia: C.S. Lewis said that Narnia wasn’t necessarily a direct allegory to biblical events, but he also makes it clear that Aslan, the lion, is a Christ figure in the story. I reviewed The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe early in this project. What I love about this series is its timelessness. I can’t wait to read it with my son one day. And even if you don’t want to explore the underlying Christian themes, it’s a great story.
Prayer for Owen Meany: By John Irving, this novels tells the story of a kid who accidentally kills his friend’s mom and goes on a journey in which he believes he is God’s instrument. The story inspired the movie Simon Burch. I haven’t read this one.
The Heart of the Matter: This is another Graham Greene novel, and it’s also on the Time list, though I haven’t got to it yet. The book deals with the internal struggles and moral tension of a Catholic police officer.
Go Tell It On The Mountain: Another book I’ve previously read in this project. James Baldwin is a brilliant writer. And, though, I felt like his writing almost overshadows this story, Go Tell It On The Mountain is an excellent look at one young man who has to cope with the brutality of his father, a preacher. The young man, John, struggles with his belief in God because his of his father’s hypocrisy.
I realize that all of the above novels lean toward Western faith and Christianity. But I’m honestly just drawing from a list of books that I’m familiar with, not necessarily calling these the “5 best” or anything like that. Again, I appreciate these novels because I don’t feel that they are heavy handed in condoning or dismissing faith and/or Christianity.
So what did I miss? What are some other faith-based novels that you would (or would not) recommend?
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