Thinking Out Loud

September 9, 2011

Finding a Good Chair to Curl up with a Good Book

Filed under: books — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:35 am

My acquaintance with Christian fiction is growing but still extremely limited.  The few books I have read — and greatly enjoyed — begin with a plot contrivance; where the author says, ‘Let’s hypothesize X, and then see where that takes us.’

In his third novel, The Chair, author James Rubart asks us to accept the premise that since Jesus spent his pre-ministry years in carpentry, he might have made objects — or at least one — which with great care could survive until the present age.  Doesn’t the Bible say something like “he makes all things well?” (Mark 7:37) Rubart introduces his hypothesis on the very first page of the very first chapter, in case you missed it in the title. Good to get it out of the way, I suppose.

From there, the novel snakes through a series of twists and turns not unlike his two previous titles Rooms and The Book of Days. Somewhere, in James Rubart’s house, there must be a room where he spreads out giant sheets of flip-chart paper and figures out how to get his characters from beginning to end. There would have to be.

And Rubart does a lot of figuring out. You can really sense the research that goes into his books and the cultural references that give the story a vivid, three-dimensional texture. And yes, this is very much fiction for guys, but with enough relational dynamics and rich characters that women would enjoy it as well.

Some of the plot coincidences are serendipitous, I’m sure. How does Corin, the lead character get to do all the things he does and still hold down a job? Easy, put him in a retail sector where opening the store at noon is fully acceptable. Little touches like help The Chair to move from start to finish without credibility gaps.

So there’s a chair, and it appears to have supernatural qualities. Healing properties. And there are people who would like to own it. ‘Nuff said. This is a spoiler-free review.

I picked up yesterday on page 180 and read another 200 pages in an almost single sitting. “I will stop at this chapter;” I said, and then kept on going. And going and going. The book is published by a Christian publisher — B&H Fiction — but isn’t preachy. Honestly, if I were Rubart, I’d be negotiating subsidiary rights in the broader, ABA book market. Or film market. But despite its non-preachy tone, The Chair does ask the right question: What is true healing?

If someday you find yourself with a supernatural chair with healing properties, be sure to be careful what kind of healing you really need to ask for. Or expect.

Five stars out of five for each of plot, characters, and realism.

A copy of  The Chair was provided to Thinking Out Loud by B&H Fiction’s Canadian distributor, David C. Cook Canada.

Here’s a review of The Book of Days

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2 Comments »

  1. A very interesting premise. I think I might enjoy this one. In the realm of Christian fiction, I tend to like the “guy books” instead of the women’s fiction. (That’s kinda sad because I write women’s fiction.) You might also want to check out J. Mark Bertrand’s “Roland March” mystery series. I’m reading the second one and it’s even better than the first. It’s smart, solid, can’t-put-it-down writing.

    I met Jim at a seminar a couple of years ago. He’s a great guy, lots of fun.

    Comment by Meg Moseley — September 9, 2011 @ 6:53 am

  2. […] the currently popular Rooms, The Book of Days, and The Chair by James Rubart, The Reason contains a continually advancing plot, a good mix of male and female […]

    Pingback by Reviewing The Reason by William Sirls « Thinking Out Loud — August 31, 2012 @ 6:48 am


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