Remember, you read it here first. N. D. Wilson (no relation, I hasten to add) is a name that will soon be widely known. He will write many books, Lord willing, in many genres for our instruction and delight. His first is Leepike Ridge (Random House).

Still in his 20s, Wilson hails from Moscow, Idaho, where his father, Douglas Wilson (one of the leading lights of the classical Christian schooling movement), and a group of kindred spirits have built a Christian community of Reformed conviction centered on Christ Church in Moscow. Wilson the younger is a fellow of literature at New Saint Andrews College, where he also "teaches classical rhetoric to freshmen" (the book jacket informs us), a daunting task, and serves as managing editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, published by the Christ Church community.

Earlier this year, a short story by Wilson appeared in Esquire magazine, and he'll have adult fiction in book form before too long. (No, not that kind of "adult.") Meanwhile, he has made his debut with what gets called "a novel for young readers"—in this case, as publishing conventions go, readers age 8 to 12.

Like many of the age-based generalizations that are common currency in our day, this publishing category combines the silly with the sensible. There is the pseudo-scientific precision of the age range and behind it a pedantic conception of reading that adventurous readers young and old consistently ignore. The young ones wantonly read above their "grade level" (while retaining an affection for the picture-heavy volumes in which they first sounded out words); the old ones move without fuss from Walker Percy and Calvin's Institutes to Narnia and the adventures of Frog and Toad.

So yes, Leepike Ridge was clearly written ...

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June 2007

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