Friday, April 24, 2009

Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin

publisher: Thomas Nelson
rating: ***

When I first opened Chasing Fireflies by the obviously gifted storyteller Charles Martin, I was blown away. The writing was gorgeous. I knew I had found a kindred soul to W.Dale Cramer. As far as Southern fiction goes---Christian or non---this is one of the strongest contenders in years.

The prose is achingly beautiful, the plot intricate enough you can sink in, turn your brain on and wile away days---rather than speedy minutes--- unravelling the story.

There are some very re-affirming themes to the novel: love, family, the simplicity of a life scorned by mankind and ordained by God, destiny, miracles-in-ordinary and the need to find yourself through the concept of name.

For fans of well-written faith fiction, you will find a new favourite in Charles Martin's gorgeously spun Southern tale.

In some of the freshest and most scintillating prose in this genre, Martin tells us of history, secrets, family, love and the small joys that piece together the framework of warmth and humanity.

From fireflies in a mason jar to fishing and time on a lifeboat, journalist Chase Walker chases his past to better carve and understand a troubled kid's future.

This book comes highly recommend to readers of inspirational fiction who love a well-written character piece which is light on the preachy evangelism and heavy on the thematic symbolism.

I think Charles Martin integrates well into the secular and Christian markets. His Christianity is subtle: implied rather than stated.

I might like to see him preach a little more loudly in future novels.

That being said, there is deep meaning and heart in his work.

This novel rolled around in my head for days after I read it ----perhaps why it took so long for me to post about it.

In conclusion, I liked 80% of the novel---the other 20%---still rolling in my brain ---seem too melodramatic or in the vein of Nicholas Sparks.

But, praise to Martin for writing a novel so compelling it has taken me weeks to shake it out of my system.

more Charles Martin? go here

p.s. something to think about: I should probably chalk this up to the first person narrative of a young, brash journalist, but there is something almost cocky in Martin's prose. Can't quite put a finger on it....

hmm..... think I will have to read a little more before I can state this for sure. It could, indeed, be a well-played character trait in his p.o.v.


amyanne said...

I enjoyed Charles' Wrapped in Rain and looking forward to reading more! Thanks for your reivew.

rachel said...

thanks amyanne!

It is good to know where to start next.

if you liked Wrapped in Rain, I will give it a try!

kirsteniteleader said...

I'm am so sorry it took you this long to read Charles Martin. He is a literary GEM, in my humble, un- literature-educated opinion. I believe the Dead Don't Dance was his first book, and it shows. The point is not clear, there's no truly definable climax -but his description of a North Carolina summer on a farm will grab ya! He is gifted at capturing the essences of places, of life, and relaying them to the reader on the page.

Anyway, I haven't read Wrapped in Rain, but when you're done with that, you HAVE to read When Crickets Cry. The book is about a doctor, a little girl, and how God is the true Healer. It subtly, without hand-holding you, shows you how humans can sew, medicate, and even brilliantly invent new ways to save a human life- but ultimately it takes the hand of God to heal.

I read the climax during my lunch break when I worked at a Christian bookstore, and bawled like a baby. Everyone was so concerned when I emerged from the back; I laughed and told them my face was so red because I'd been READING!

Oh it was soooo good. You'll LOVE it.