As you might expect, N. D. Wilson's first full-length nonfiction book for adults, Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God's Spoken World (Thomas Nelson) , is as jumbled and chaotic as the proverbial carnival ride for which it's named. "A Tilt-a-Whirl is one of the few carnival rides that appears to follow a random pattern of motion," writes Wilson. In this spirit, theology, mythology, poetry, observation, dialogue, and philosophy are flung together on these pages in a barrage of color, motion, and sensory detail that threatens to derail readers after the first few pages.
But those who give up will miss an intriguing book. Perhaps Wilson's credentials are a clue to his writing style. The son of prolific Calvinist writer-pastor Douglas Wilson, he's the author of several books for young readers, managing editor of Credenda/Agenda magazine, and a fellow of literature at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. Tilt-a-Whirl reflects Wilson's childlike wonder as well as his penchant for wrestling with difficult topics. It may also reflect boredom with literary straitjackets.
Wilson invites the reader to partake in the intricate beauty of the world while remaining open to its endless absurdities and darker aspects. If he muses on the wonders of snow, he makes sure you also know that dogs pee on it. If he reflects on the Nativity, he reminds us that the baby Jesus was laid to rest in an "animal food bowl." For comparison, think Donald Miller meets Annie Dillard meets Max Lucado.
Precisely for these types of contrasts, Wilson takes infinite delight in the created world and its Creator. As he careens from topic to topic like a metal sphere in a pinball machine, and dialogues on everything from philosophers to the life ...1