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Christopher Paperback – December 20, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Christopher strides a line of paradoxes throughout the entire novel that creates a beautifully fulfilling experience for the reader. Athey's style is charming and poetic, and yet frank, even at times stark. His attention to the landscape of the Midwest is epic in scope, yet viewed through the intimate eyes of a native- and one who assesses the landscape with tenderness and reverence in minute detail. The spiritual journey of Christopher and his counterparts is the same mystical and heroic saga of the saints and faithful throughout the centuries, but it is as personal as each character's own heart, and the unspoken and innermost thoughts, hopes, and fears therein. Theologically, Athey treats his characters tenderly, tempering the universal, objective truths of the soul and its relationship to God with the necessary dance of mistakes and ever-present grace. The tension of this engaging warp and weft of paradox is enthralling, and it successfully delivers a story wound around the spectrum of human emotion from the search to the discovery, from despair to triumph, and from hunger to satisfaction and back again. More than 'well worth it'.
The author is no doubt a poet; this shows through in Athey's perception of the natural world and the inner life of a young man as he comes of age. However, this is not simply a coming-of-age story; it is also a dance of pursuit and retreat between Christopher Lagorio and the mystery of faith, and a very believable dance at that. Athey unpacks deep theological and philosophical truths with ease and poignancy along Christopher's journey. Athey also walks a fine line between wit and substance, and keeps the chapters relatively short, which personally kept me hooked. The pace of the novel is genius. I read it in only three sittings about a month ago, and the story still lingers inside me.
In short, Christopher is the kind of book that stays with you long after you finish reading and close the cover. It will make more of you by stretching your imagination and thoughts on faith and nature, and it will remind you of the reason why you read in the first place.
Terra laughed. "More of a love story. But it's not fluffy. It's all philosophical and theological."
The boy mouthed the words quietly, tasting the possibilities.
This excerpt from the second chapter, in which Christopher and Terra discuss Aquinas' Summa Theologiae, is in many ways descriptive of Athey's novel itself. Christopher is more or less equal parts love story, theological apologia, and philosophical musing, yet it is written with such compelling, poetic insight into the inner workings of a growing man as to make the reader momentarily forget that it's any of the above. Though very informed by Catholic tradition, readers from other creeds need not feel proselytized; this novel is a testament to God's relentless love for humanity and how He is revealed everywhere--in both the cathedral and the commonplace.
This novel is a joy to read, and I found that it works perfectly in a book club or discussion group setting. As president of a small book club made up of mostly English students and some professors, I chose Christopher for our April novel. When we met to discuss the text, it was clear that it connected to each member on a very individual level. It stimulated in depth discussion and prompted meaningful questions for everyone. Many of Athey's masterful moves as a writer are not apparent on the first read; and as we reread and discussed various excerpts of the novel, it became clear that its literary worth is striking.
In short, I would recommend this novel for many reasons. It was a joy to read, and I know that I will be rereading it soon. I also suggest Christopher as a group read since it will strike each reader differently. Christopher is a memorable novel that leaves a lasting impression.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A waste of time, at best. An occasion of sin, at worst. Another disappointment from Sophia Institute Press. Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Happy Northerner
This book was good but not great. It was a decent escape and interesting storyline. It reminded me of Michael O'Brien's books but definitely not as well written. Read morePublished on September 6, 2013 by Amazon Customer
It has been many years since I've read a book this -------- bad! The writing style is childish. The behaviors of the characters are not believeable. Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by Classic Fan
Dave Athey's Christopher reads like a song. I found myself placing colored stickers on every other page to refer back to the imagery he caroled into certain sentences. Read morePublished on July 17, 2012 by Deborah S. Lande
Christopher is a novel that includes a story line in which any reader can find a piece of their own experience. Read morePublished on May 25, 2012 by Kyra
Wasn't sure what to expect from this book since the person who referred this book to me has very different tastes in writing than myself. Read morePublished on May 19, 2012 by Amazon Customer
David Athey creates a world in Christopher that I know exists. I want to live there, and I don't even like nature. Read morePublished on May 7, 2012 by Tim Cox