Richard Doster, Crossing the Lines, OR, One more book for Christmas

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Here's one more book for Christmas . . .

Richard Doster, Crossing the Lines, A Novel, published by David C. Cook

First, for those who would not countenance contemporary fiction . . .

Look at the cover.  [You'll have to find it yourself--if I knew how to link to it I would have to resign my membership in the Luddite-Wendell Berry Association.] 

This is not the cover art of a dreamy maiden awaiting the arrival of the hero on yonder shore, neither is it an Amish farmscape, which is to say, this ain't your typical (read Folgers) contemporary Christian fiction (read pablum).

Second, for those who only have time for serious, heady, non-fiction . . .I used to think so, too.  And for good reason.  But you should spend some time with Phil Ryken, or ask him to post his list of fiction, classic and contemporary, that he has read. Good fiction is not just a distraction.

And this book, Richard Doster's novel Crossing the Lines, is not just good.  I would go as far as to say it is the best book I read all year.  Doster is editor of the magazine of the PCA, byFaith, a smart and engaging magazine.  Doster has a wonderful piece, "The Calling of Christian Writers," currently on the byfaith website.

The novel picks up where his first novel, Safe at Home (also from Cook), leaves off, finding Jack Hall in Atlanta and landing a job at The Atlanta Constitution.  The book is about race and the emergence of the new south.  Along the way, Doster has his hero meet up with the likes of Martin Luther King and Sam Phillips of Sun Records.  Jack even gets to spend an afternoon with Flannery O'Conner on her porch, discussing what's so Southern about Southern fiction.  By the last page--don't we all sneak a peak anyway--Jack's in his office at Down South, his newly minted and ambitious magazine, savoring the manuscript of an unknown writer by the name of Harper Lee.

Buy this book for yourself, buy some for your friends. 

One final reason.  Look at the book cover and tell me if Doster isn't a dead ringer for Garrison Keillor.

Posted December 8, 2009 @ 11:31 AM by Stephen Nichols

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