"The Shack" William P. Young (Updated 2008-01-16 20:58 CET)
After "The Time Traveler's Wife" more fiction about love. This time the love of God.
Whereas the TTW was about passionate, erotic love between a man and a woman, with a dialogue that now and then verged on the ordinaire, "The Shack" is a vision of God's love for a person as experienced by a man in a deep life crisis.
This is a rare gem, fiction that portrays God and is carried by a gripping story line. I read through it rapidly first time round because it is a story and I wanted to know what happened - how does it end. Now I am going back over it appreciating the detail. Yesterday morning there was no need to get up. I curled up in bed reading and was in tears over the passionate, gentle love of God as told in this story.
The start of the book seemed a bit slow and dry with the change of writing style from Audrey Niffinegger in the TTW. But it became a gripping story after the scene setting.
The account of his meeting with God is very effective. (Avoiding spoilers here.) God is people. God relates. And as Mack's issues with life are worked through in his long weekend with God a whole range of common religious and theological misconceptions are brought to light, including:
- the nature of the church,
- Bible study,
- free will and its effects,
- God's time travelling! ;-)
- atonement and salvation - but such religious jargon never crosses anyone lips,
- the character and purpose of God,
- the theology of the Trinity.
They all arise throughout the weekend as Mack gets to know God and begins to see his own life and his attitudes a God sees them.
And there are lovely details all along the way. For example, God listens to all sorts of music, not just religious stuff: