I stopped reading Stephen King after Misery. It was just too…scary, realistic, horrifying. There – let’s settle on horrifying. I read it in high school, and I remember running and diving into bed at night once the lights were out as if I’d be a goner if I were caught out of bed. Bed is a safe place, right? Nothing can get you once the covers are pulled up.
When I was a kid, I also slept with the covers up to my chin so vampires couldn’t get at my neck…I must have thought my sheets were made of garlic or something. LOL
I picked up the book Swimming Through Clouds recently because I heard so much about it from my friend, Gretchen Engel. She’s been promoting the sequel to the book, Seeing Through Stone, on her blogs. I’ve had my eye on this book ever since I heard the author read an excerpt from the book at a launch party for Playlist Fiction in Indianapolis last September. The author, Rajdeep Paulus, writes masala-marinated fiction (her term). I simply love learning about other cultures and reading through the eyes of an Indian character, especially a book well-loved by a friend, is a fantastic way to do it.
Gretchen described the book as gritty. For me, the first quarter of the book was horrifying, reminiscent to Stephen King’s Misery or the movie with Julia Roberts, Sleeping with the Enemy. The difference, while the events in Misery are a dim possibility, the events in Swimming Through the Clouds and Sleeping with the Enemy, do happen. Domestic violence is a fact of life for many and reading about the depths of pain one person can put another through is…horrifying. I read through the book thinking, when we get to the climax of the book, the “midnight of the soul” for the main character, am I going to be able to stand it? How much worse can this possibly get? It was like a reading train-wreck. Uncomfortable, but I couldn’t look away.
But I loved this book. The writing was beautiful. The story poignant in sadness but infused with hope. Talia, the main character, and her brother Jess, grow on you and you want to reach in and scoop them out of the story and hug them to you like kittens left out in the cold. The book didn’t get to the point I couldn’t read it. The other shoe didn’t fall because, unlike Hollywood films and general fiction, this is a Christian story so there is God, and hope.
But Talia and Jess’s stories go on. So that is why I have already purchased and am reading the sequel Seeing Through Stone. I want to know what happens next. :)
In answer to my question, how edgy do you like your Christian fiction? My answer is: the edgier the better. I want real, even if that means at times it is horrifying. Because it’s Christian, where God is involved there is always hope and redemption in one way or another. Those are the stories I like to read.
What about you?