A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation
Books that talk about "contemplation" often seem to have been written on Jupiter. This one is a sterling exception. "Books are largely written in solitude," Martin Laird writes, "and like all fruitful solitude, it is essentially ecclesial, grounded in community." That gives you a sense of Laird: a man alert to paradox and mystery, yet in no way isolated from the everyday. Consider this: "Silence has no opposite. Its embrace is wide and generous enough to receive all, both sound and the absence of sound," making us aware of "the Silent Presence" of God.
The Final Hour
I shudder to think of all the books occasioned by the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I won't read most of them, but I did make time for The Final Hour, the concluding installment in Andrew Klavan's four-book Homelanders series, in which Islamic terrorists seek to wreak havoc. The teenage hero, Charlie West, is a winsome Christian and a pretty tough customer. In publishing jargon, this is Young Adult fiction (in the subdivision known as "boy books"), but the unadulterated intelligence of a superb suspense novelist is very much in evidence throughout.
Owen Barfield on C. S. Lewis: Second edition
Most of these pieces were first published elsewhere in scattered volumes. It is good to have the whole lot together. People who pick up this little book will be looking primarily for insights into C. S. Lewis from a man who was his friend for more than 40 years—and they won't be disappointed. But I hope it will also send some readers to Owen Barfield's own extraordinary books. Here's a prod: "Barfield never held," says Barfield, "that 'God evolves.' He does hold that the relation of man to God is something that evolves, continuously evolves."
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John Wilson is editor of Books & Culture, a Christianity Today sister publication.
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