A day late and a dollar short…

…story of my life.


Sigh. It looks like the pilot/premiere of Bat Out of Hell will not in fact be entering the fray during the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, just as Percival vs. The Pale King (now re-imagined as a fictional work set in Wallace’s classroom as he teaches The Moviegoer) will not be released during the 100th anniversary of Percy’s birth. Bosch: Touched by the Devil is a provocative title for this rather more timely documentary, but I would have preferred Bosch: The Comedian of Hell.

“Religion is not like baseball.”


I almost hesitate to link to this piece by D.G. Myers on Catholic fiction over at the Books and Culture website, because the print version of Books and Culture is one of the best-designed bits of religious magazine publishing I have ever seen. Maybe subscribe? Anyway, here are some authors who are more successful than you (me):

Neither Christopher Beha nor William Giraldi is a Catholic novelist in the simplistic sense of dressing up Catholic doctrine with what Paul Elie calls “the old power to persuade.” Nor is either of them a Catholic apologist in any form. They are not trying to defend the Catholic religion nor even to make it plausible for readers likely to reject it. They are Catholic novelists for all that, however, with a literary project far more profound—to display religion as inextricably woven into human life, or what the great Catholic poet Gerard Manley Hopkins would have described as its “inscape.” They are nothing like each other, their religious convictions are nothing alike, but between them Beha and Giraldi are redefining how religious fiction, especially Catholic fiction, might be written by those with small need to shout.

Religion is not like baseball. There are no baseball novels; there are only novels about baseball. True, a novel may be about religious faith, although to say this is to say very little about it—crucially, it is to say nothing whatever about the novel’s point of view toward religious faith. The greatest religious novels are written out of a religious discernment much the same way that surrealistic poetry is written out of a particular vision of reality: it soaks the work from top to bottom. Critics may go on complaining of a lack, but those who are looking for religious fiction written from the ground up should find themselves copies of the striking recent novels by William Giraldi and Christopher Beha.