Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Meissner's, In All Deep Places~ reviewed

In All Deep Places
Susan Meissner
ISBN# 978-0-7369-1665-3
Release Date: 1-01-06
Fiction – Contemporary, Christian

Reviewed by Kelly Klepfer

Some go for quick escapist fiction, along the lines of fast food gulped en route to the next stop. I prefer to ponder the words, like a county fair judge might determine the subtleties of the perfect apple pie.

Susan Meissner serves up wonderful word pictures like, "He scampered off, returning a moment later with a faded rag frozen by time and neglect into a stiff terry-cloth fossil," in her new novel, In All Deep Places.

Luke Foxbourne, carries a burden that comes to a boil through a series of events. The reader is taken to the segment of time that branded his life, and continues to haunt him. Ms. Meissner gives us insight into her protagonist's confusion and sorrow with, "'I don't understand You," Luke whispered aloud, but he was afraid to whisper anything else. He was afraid a cosmic hand would reach down out of heaven, pluck him from the tree house, and fling him to the frozen ground."

My eye has been trained to seek flaws in writing. I suppose a lot like the judge who notices a smidge too much salt, or the wrong kind of apple. It has become, for me, a sign of good fiction, when I get lost in the story and respond to the lives of the characters.

I read Ms. Meissner's novel in three sessions – devouring what I could fit into the very busy holidays. Her characters, her writing lingered. I'd find myself clinging to a neatly turned phrase or trying to squeeze the had-to-do's into smaller time bits so I could sneak a look at what might happen next.

In my opinion, Ms. Meissner writes Christian Fiction the way it should be written, with threads and hints and God webs interwoven into not very rosy pictures of broken lives. In All Deep Places contains tinges of hope, an aroma of life, a slight glow of light, and a lingering trace of poignancy. And that is the stuff of life, the moments when we are forced to think, to face our smallness and the immensity of God.

This is the second of Ms. Meissner's books I've had the pleasure of reading. I intend to continue consuming her books, going back and picking up the two I've missed, and eagerly awaiting the next one.

If you only read books with talking animals or those that end with the words "happily ever after" you might not share my opinion.

If you prefer your fiction to be a little more like real life with spots of word weaving magic, I think you'll like In All Deep Places.

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