Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Serials and Scenarios ~ Silver Birches by Adrian Plass
When David Herrick receives an invitation to a reunion from a long-forgotten acquaintance, his first reaction is to refuse. He isn't feeling very sociable since his wife, Jessica, died six months ago. But the invitation comes from Angela, one of his wife's oldest friends—and mysteriously, she has something for him from his beloved Jessica. Reluctant but curious, he visits Headly Manor. When the friends gather, they no longer resemble the fresh-faced group of twenty years ago. One has been deserted by her husband, another has lost his faith, and another is filled with anger and Bitterness. As they have less than forty-eight hours with each other, they decide to be vulnerable and bear their souls. This poignant and moving story blends Adrian Plass's rich style of writing with his knack for addressing the deep issues we all face, such as faith, grief, love … and fear.
I can't believe that this book sat in a to-be-read pile for months. I don't know if it was the bland cover in the monochromatic silvers and grays. Or if it was the subject matter, a well-known Christian speaker loses his wife and the story begins in the midst of his depression and struggles. Whatever it was, don't make the same mistake I did.
If you love prose that often reads like poetry (the good kind), thought-provoking, faith-tweaking, realistic fiction, or love British authors, then pick up this book.
Rich, rich, rich details and storytelling poke at sensitive spots in Christ followers. The scenario of half a dozen youth group friends meeting for a weekend twenty years or so after last seeing each other sounds like it might be a bit like a Christianized/sanitized version of The Big Chill. There are moments it feels like that. But that might be because real Christians also have personalities and issues that don't look a whole lot different from unbelievers. And though similar to the storyline of The Big Chill, it's not actually sanitized a whole lot. A big theme is the Christian and his or her sexuality. Then toss in the waves that nearly drown followers when God does not do as He is expected and instead bad, awful, inexplicably hideous things happen that leave us gasping for air and a break. An even bigger one...what if a person, a good person prays and asks to be delivered from something yet still struggles with it twenty years later? Oh yeah. This book, tiny though it is -- less than 200 pages -- is heavy and deep.
I am so glad I read this book. I'll be investigating other Plass offerings. Powerful.