f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 1 of <i>Christ the Lord</i> - The Passion of Anne Rice

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Day 1 of Christ the Lord - The Passion of Anne Rice

So, did you hear about CBA's newest author. Her name's Anne Rice. She's recently completed a biographical novel about Jesus as a seven-year-old. Lots of historical research. I think she may have published somewhere else before...wait, what?...she wrote what?...AAGGGGHHH!

Yes, only five years after I wrote Ezekiel's Shadow, a bestselling horror novelist has finally had the courage to once and for all render my novel useless. Anne Rice is back in the church and has, assumably, turned her back on vampires, witches, and mummies in order to write about Jesus. Literally.

This post in no way purports any knowledge of Ms. Rice's spiritual condition beyond what we've been given in interviews. This post really isn't intended to start a debate about such things. This post is meant to start our three-day look at her novel and see what it can teach us.
I very, very rarely read author's notes. If your research seemed "real" as I read it, it's redundant for you to convince me again. If it seems false, they can show me every source in the world and it still won't rescue the novel.

I did read Anne Rice's author note, however, and I'm glad I did. It's an interesting author's note and, in the end, it was more interesting than the book itself. That sounds snarky, I know. But it's not meant to be. This is one of those few cases where the situation surrounding a book is actually more interesting to me than the book itself. Dan Brown's DaVinci Code was that way. (And to be fair, Rice's book is far better than Brown's.)

Her author note succeeds in crucial ways where her book falters. There is a strong voice in it. The language is dynamic. And most of all, there's a palpable passion behind it. You get glimpses of these things in her novel, certainly, but a number of her choices (we'll talk about them tomorrow and Friday) seem to impede her. We've talked so much about what it means to write as part of our "faith" and Rice certainly seems to be approaching many of the same questions.

I think that's the obvious solution to why I am more interested in this aspect than the book itself. In the end, I guess I don't really care who Anne Rice thinks Jesus was. But I'm very interested in the "real" Jesus who could, apparently, recapture this author's heart. That's a savior I think I recognize...and one I wish had come though just a bit more in her novel.
Go to Day 2 of our discussion of Christ the Lord.