DATE: 4/02/2004 10:12:00 AM
The Not-So-Glorious End - Carl Olson, writing in National Review online, critiques the final book in the "Left Behind" series. I got through five or six books in the series before finally giving up. Although the authors have a compelling story to tell, they don't seem to have any idea how to do it. The books are dull, with wooden characters and awful dialogue. Olson includes a great quote from Flannery O'Connor:
Ever since there have been such things as novels, the world has been flooded with bad fiction for which the religious impulse has been responsible. The sorry religious novel comes about when the writer supposed that because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality. He will think that the eyes of the Church or of the Bible or of his particular theology have already done the seeing for him and that his business is to rearrange this essential vision into satisfying patterns, getting himself as little dirty in the process as possible.The main problem with the series is that LaHaye and Jenkins are more interested in communicating their theology than telling a good story. Character development, pacing and dialogue are all sacrificed to the larger goal of using the books to proselytize. A worthy goal, but imagine how many more people would have read the books if they had been less focused on what happens in the end times, and more interested in telling a well-written story about the people those future events will effect.