“Christian fiction” has come of age in recent years, with a number of memorable titles emanating from Lion Fiction and SPCK’s Marylebone House. Instant Apostle, a small grass-roots publisher run by Manoj Raithatha, who also works for the Evangelical Alliance, has now emerged as an additional publisher of good quality fiction, alongside other areas of publishing.
A Christmas Calling is very loosely based on Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol and tells the story of David Sourbrook, a retired teacher of maths and physics, who finds spiritual and emotional salvation in the few days leading up to Christmas. Unlike Dickens’ character, Sourbrook’s journey is inspired, in part, by Christians from a local church rather than an assortment of ghosts.
David Sourbrook does not have Ebenezer Scrooge’s aversion to the Christmas season, but he lives an isolated life with few obvious friends and a certain disdain for the wider human race. His life begins to change after a “chance” meeting with a public-spirited woman Angela (“was she a friend or was she an angel”) who persuades him to join her in clearing up litter from the streets and in delivering church newsletters to a tough housing estate. Later David is introduced to friends from Angela’s (very middle class) church and begins a journey towards Christian conversion and a recognition of a long buried traumatic experience that has blighted his life since childhood.
The novel also touches on issues of social deprivation when David and Angela encounter a group of teenage delinquents from the housing estate.
Part love story, part psychological exploration, part conversion story, A Christmas Calling makes enjoyable reading in the weeks leading up to the Christmas celebrations. I will look forward to reading future offerings from this writer.
Graham Hedges, MCLIP, Hon. FCLIP, is Secretary of Christians in Library and Information Services.
For more information on Christians in Library and Information Services: www.christianlis.org.uk