I guess no review of contemporary British Christian fiction would be complete without Adrian Plass. His ‘Sacred Diary’ books deserve to become classics and are hilarious. But I also like his short stories.
The Final Boundary includes nine short stories – or parables – in the great tradition of Jesus himself. Which puzzles me – Jesus was a great story teller. He used stories (fiction!) to make his point, again and again and again. So why are there so few good British parables around?
I won’t go into details on all the stories in the book. ‘A letter to William’ questions all our sacred cows about church and salvation – what if what is required is much more simple? As simple and as hard as climbing Snowdon? ‘Why it was all right to kill Uncle Reginald’ considers bigotry and unreasonable dislike in chilling detail. ‘The Final Boundary’ is guaranteed to make you cry. ‘The Visit’ looks at the effect on a rather repressed and self-conscious man when Jesus comes to visit his church. My favourite is ‘The Second Pint’ – the twist at the end is as satisfying as the second pint itself is!
If you like these, and I’m pretty sure you will, there is a second book of stories, called ‘Father to the Man’. These are very thought-provoking studies of various (male) characters; with problems, neuroses and the usual baggage that makes us human; in fairly normal situations having to face up to the existence of God and their own issues. ‘Nothing but the truth’ is good, but I think the collection is worth it for ‘Friends coming round’ alone. And ‘Stanley Morgan’s Minor Misdemeanour’ scores lots of points for the title!
If you’ve read them – let me know which story is your favourite, and why. Thanks.