Francis Spufford was unfortunate in publishing his introduction to Christianity, through its surprising emotional potency, Unapologetic, the same year as a new Marilynne Robinson book. There have been few years since her first novel, Housekeeping, that Marilynne has released books and were it not for her devastatingly beautiful “When I Was A Child I Read Books“, Unapologetic would be easily the best-written Christian book of the year.
Even though its opening chapter remains one of the most heart-swelling descriptions of what it is like to actually be a Christian that I have ever read, the book as a whole left me a touch underwhelmed. But I realise now, why that is the case. Here is Spufford, talking about his book in November at a book festival in the islands off the coast of Scotland:
For a lot of people now, the life of faith is literally unimaginable, except as a caricature. Usually a caricature of fanaticism, intolerance and bigotry. They do not know what it is like to believe. But you do – a lot of you. So I’m not sure how relevant my book can be to you. It isn’t written to face towards you. The main thing it has to tell you is something you know already.
By experience, I am certainly a convert to Christianity, moving fairly rapidly from militant unbelief to life-transforming conviction that Jesus physically rose from the dead, was exalted by God and is the Lord of the Cosmos. But I was raised by Catholics, who were raised by Catholics, in a domestic setting where Christianity, although it was rarely actually discussed, was certainly experienced.
The book isn’t for me. It might be for you. It is witty, and punchy and honest and interesting. Give it a go.
Your Correspondent, Thinks books written in Costa are better than books written in Starbucks