Monday, January 21, 2008

A Catholic Version

A while ago I wondered on this blog why no one published fluffy Catholic fiction. In other words, I know Flannery O'Connor is a Catholic writer, and if I search the classics I can find those mentioning faith and writing from a Catholic point of view, but there don't seem to be Catholics writing "Christian Fiction", a genre I'll generally describe as books in which the characters' Christianity (generally of the evangelical Protestant variety) is a major focus in their lives and in the plot of the story. For example, I just read Angel of Mercy which is about a female lawyer living in turn-of-the-century California who defends a police officer accused of murder. Besides the basic "who dunit" story, it also explores her relationship with a man she refused to marry because he wasn't Christian and shows her trying to convince her aunt, who has tried everything else, that Christianity will be her salvation. The book shows her faith as a major factor in making the main character who she is.

Janette sent me a book Murder Makes a Pilgrimage which is your basic old lady mystery novel (think Mrs. Pollifax, Murder She Wrote and the like). The main characters are two old nuns who win a trip (pilgrimage) to a shrine to St. James which is in Spain. The first night they are there a member of their party is murdered and one of the nuns finds the body in the cathedral. From there it is just a matter of figuring out which member of their party was the murderer, and of course, the nuns figure it out before the police do. The book is written by a nun and while it mentions going to mass and reading from her missal, there isn't anything in the story, other than the fact that the women are identified as nuns, to make you think faith has any great meaning in their lives.

I've always fancied myself as more of a journalist than novelist, but I wonder how hard it would be to write the kind of story I'm trying to describe--and if there would be a market for it.

Both books are on my bookmooch list.

3 comments:

  1. I like Murder Makes a Pilgrimage. My favorite part is the St. Bridget Prayer! LOL. You might want to check out Ralph McInerney too, if you like mysteries. (Father Dowling - not at all like the tv series of the same name!)

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  2. YES! Please become a Catholic writer!!!!!!!!!!!!!-

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  3. There used to be a whole genre of fluffy Catholic fiction; in fact, Loyola Press recently reprinted a good dozen or two of the best-loved titles: Mr. Blue, The Devil's Advocate, etc. At the time they were written, of course, they were contemporary settings. A few smaller publishers have also released some Catholic fiction, but from what I have noticed, it is a bit heavy-handed and not all that realistic.

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