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Faith And The Good Thing Paperback – January 10, 2001
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The New York Times Book Review An ebullient, philosophical novel...a many splendored and ennobling weaving together of thought, suffering, humor, and magic.
The Washington Post A brilliant novel of allegory, myth, and folk tales, and a vivid realism, very much in the American tradition...It is a novel of rare eloquence and originality, a fable that entertains and informs.
Black World One of the great American novels of this century...unqualifiedly good and extraordinarily beautiful.
About the Author
Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, literary scholar, philosopher, cartoonist, screenwriter, and professor emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle. His fiction includes Dr. King’s Refrigerator, Dreamer, Faith and the Good Thing, and Middle Passage, for which he won the National Book Award. In 2002 he received the Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Seattle.
Top customer reviews
It helps if you know your Plato, but the novel can stand alone. At first you may feel you're getting a bedtime story read to you—in fact, you will be called a child, dear reader—but don't let that fool you...the story takes some dark turns and really goes there. The "storytelling" anecdotes are fresh, sophisticated, and sometimes even laugh out loud funny.
If you do know your Plato, you'll find the first few pages a bit obvious (especially the references to the allegory of the cave), but keep going—the protagonist evolves in unexpected ways, inviting stimulating comparisons. This would make for a great book club discussion, especially in conjunction with excerpts from the Republic (cave allegory + divided line) and the Symposium.
I couldn't put it down. A breezy read, but only because it's so well-written, not because it lacks depth. When I reached the end, I felt I'd come to a satisfying conclusion. I also felt like re-reading it.
Faith is led into poverty, prostitution, and false promises that look like the good thing but disappoints her every time. This tale is told through the lens of folklore, philosophy
and religion. Johnson's attempt to weave all of these elements together confuses and weakens the story. The reader is never sure of just what is happening with Faith.
Johnson's characters spew out philosophical musings about the good thing but are unable to sort out their own lives. Although the musings are good, they fail to capture the attention of the reader and fall flat. I enjoyed Faith who like many of us are on the same journey seeking the good thing. Defining what the good thing is and getting it are the challenges that faces everyone. Unfortunately, Johnson was unable to clearly articulate this through this tale but it was a good effort.