On Reading All Hallow’s Eve and Danny Gospel

I love summers in south Florida because it rains almost every afternoon. Not a measly, half-hearted rain either – an aching cry of thunder and lightning and water. A real tropical storm. Whenever I tell people I want to live in Seattle someday, they always say, “But it’s so rainy there and depressing.” But I think stormy days are inspiring. They’re perfect for reading, writing, drinking hot drinks, watching Harry Potter, and napping. What’s not to like?

Spurred on by the incessant rain, this past week I finished All Hallow’s Eve by Charles Williams and Danny Gospel by David Athey. The first was slightly disappointing as my initial experience with Charles Williams was Descent Into Hell and that book changed my life. It’s hard to compete with that. Also, Williams suffers from an obsession with using as many words as possible to say something. The whole story would have been better as a novella. All of that aside, there were some beautiful nuggets of philosophic truth buried within the run-on sentences. Williams is fascinating because he plays with the inconstancy of time and the redeeming power of unconditional love. And, while Descent Into Hell certainly achieved this much more effectively, All Hallow’s Eve did give an additional view of how his theories might be worked out.

To switch from Charles Williams to David Athey’s Danny Gospel is amusing, actually, because of how wildly different they read. They both deal with the supernatural and our limited understanding of God’s grace and redeeming love, but in totally different voices. Through Danny’s voice, the narrative maintained a simple and down-to-earth tone. Set in the middle of Iowan farmland, the story kept going down a different path than I expected, but never one that didn’t make perfect sense. His pain entwined with everyday humor made it real and tangible. I feel like it’s not enough to say I enjoyed it, even though I did. I feel like I need to let the story and the characters spend some time in my head, and then re-read the book before I can give my full opinion.

My brother and I have not been able to coordinate our schedules so The Great Gastby is on hold for now. Hopefully we’ll return to it soon. My next book will probably be The Brothers Karamazov because someone said they’d lend me a copy. I also saw Notes from Underground on my shelf today and thought I’d give it a go. It was assigned for a class three years ago, but I’m pretty sure I just skimmed it so I feel I should give it a fair chance.

That’s all for this rainy Saturday! I’m off to go babysit. 🙂