Is British Christian Fiction different to American?

A while back, I started a facebook group, Christian Fiction UK. But American authors kept asking to join it and, as soon as they did, using it to aggressively promote their Christian fiction. So I then remove them from the group or block them.  Why do I do this?  What have I got against American writers?

Well, I don’t really have anything against them. I’ve read most of the ‘Left Behind’ series, and I love Frank Perretti’s books (The Visitation is brilliant and I’d love to write a review of it for this blog).  But to me it seems that American and British Christian fiction have different worldviews, different feels and different themes.

British fiction is marked by uncertainty, humour, allusion, allegory, relationships, doubt, failure, and the risks taken by God when he leaves his plans in faulty human hands.

American fiction is marked by surety, the primacy of prayer and faith, seriousness, individuality, success, unswerving belief in the bible and the power of God to sort everything out at the end.

Compare ‘Daydream Believer’ by Mike Burke to ‘Fireproof’ by Alex Kendrick.  In the first, a vicar is beset by doubts and goes on a road trip with a tribute band to help clear his head. He returns with some answers but with more questions and a wider worldview. In the second, a firefighter’s marriage is on the rocks but gets sorted out when the man becomes a Christian. The first is complex, open-ended, suggests answers but allows the reader to decide for themselves.  The second is simplistic, closed, and allows for no questions.  Or compare ‘An Alien at St. Wilfred’s’ against ‘This Present Darkness’ – both have angels, but they are so different. A tiny, diffident strange being who offers weakness and subtle insights, or huge, strong, powerful fighters who swipe and kill demons with bright swords.

What do you think?  Is this distinction right and fair?  And if so, which sort of fiction would you prefer to read?

Personally, I prefer the themes that I find in British Christian fiction.  And there just isn’t enough of it.

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2 Responses to Is British Christian Fiction different to American?

  1. Paula Harmon says:

    I think you have a good point. I have found Christian US authors who write books which have Christians in them but are not ‘Christian’ books and have enjoyed them. So far, I haven’t found US Christian books which I’ve enjoyed because the people seem too perfect or the religious message seems to be applied with a sledgehammer. I prefer the kinds of books you refer to in your UK list as it resonates more with the imperfections and doubts which seem to me to be real and relatable. I’d be interested in your Facebook group but can’t find it by searching for Christian Fiction UK on Facebook!

  2. cathyhemsley says:

    Thank-you for your comment and encouragement. I had to delete the facebook group, it didn’t work out. If you like Christian fiction, then I frequently review books here, and this blog post lists 17 of the best: https://isnarniaallthereis.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/seventeen-examples-of-great-christian-fiction-from-britain//
    All the best, Cathy

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