Les Misérables – atheism and faith

Alban Krailsheimer once wrote that Christianity was oddly missing as a subject in Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris (aka, The Hunchback of Notre Dame). And I agree: that novel can seem like a merely secular story about a Christian cathedral. Les Misérables, by contrast, opens immediately with Christianity as a subject: its entire first … Continue reading Les Misérables – atheism and faith

Little Women

The following things about Louisa May Alcott's “Little Women” have surprised me:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. The movies of “Little Women” that I’ve seen don’t give a sense of the following things:  it’s a very Christian work; it’s ridiculously funny; and tremendously erudite. (To be more precise, it’s … Continue reading Little Women

Pilgrim’s Progress

I picked up “Pilgrim’s Progress” only because I was reading “Little Women,” which I found made constant reference to Bunyan’s earlier novel.  So I put down Alcott and started “Pilgrim,” and it was a mixed experience – riveting in many places, but often hard-going.  As often happens when I pick up a new author, the … Continue reading Pilgrim’s Progress

The Last Picture Show

I knew nothing about this story going in.  I thought it was going to be some sober, artsy-fartsy thing.  It’s actually filled with sex, much of it surprisingly explicit and even erotic.  The sex is painted real, meaning it’s only occasionally a joyful thing and more often: sad, boring, painful, calculating, stolen, paid for, animalistic … Continue reading The Last Picture Show

Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

A few years after finishing “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy sank into a spiritual funk or crisis that resulted in his work, “A Confession.”  In the latter work, he shares the following recollection from his formative years: The kind aunt with whom I lived, herself the purest of beings, always told me that there was nothing she … Continue reading Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)