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Faith: Stories: Short Fiction on the Varieties and Vagaries of Faith Paperback – November 15, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
In this collection of short stories about faith, Curtis, the fiction editor of the Atlantic Monthly, plunges the reader into a sometimes baffling, often disconcerting world of belief. Unlike the sister volume, God, whose stories were rooted in Protestant, Catholic and Jewish traditions, this sequel includes entries that reflect Buddhist, Muslim, Confucian and Hindu views. The stories are often beautifully descriptive, like Rmy Rougeau's gorgeously rich "Cello," about a provocative encounter between Cistercian and Buddhist monks. Salman Rushdie writes of the perils of faith commitment in "The Prophet's Hair," and Tova Reich looks at the reverberations in a Jewish family when the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors decides to become a Catholic nun in "The Third Generation." In the poignant "God's Goodness," Marjorie Kemper unfolds the story of Ling Tan, who finds her Christian faith put to the test when she nurses a teenage boy with a terminal illness. Other contributors include Reynolds Price, Alice Walker, Amy Tan, James Michener and Jessamyn West. Although most of the writers are contemporary, there are a few historical authors (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Katherine Anne Porter). The offerings are varied and diverse; believers are portrayed very realistically, even unsympathetically, and the power of religion to provide hope and meaning often takes a back seat to the darker side of belief. These beautifully written stories provide a useful platform for reflection and discussion of what it means to have faith.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* The 24 stories in Faith: Stories follow Atlantic editor Curtis' well-received God: Stories (1998), a collection aimed at liberal Christians. Curtis casts an even more ecumenical net here, including such stories as Salman Rushdie's "The Prophet's Hair," Hanif Kureishi's "My Son the Fanatic," and Yukio Mishima's "The Priest and His Love." But he also gathers such American standards as Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and Katherine Anne Porter's "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall," as well as contempory tales such as Amy Tan's "Fishers of Men" and Alice Walker's "The Welcome Table." All of the stories are really more about faith as a literary conceit than "the substance of things hoped for," but this is a flawless collection and will be welcomed by readers weary of the rigidity found in most Christian fare. John Mort
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