Today, WM Paul Young is launching his second novel Cross Roads. His first novel The Shack was a global bestseller, shifting over 600,000 copies in the UK and 18 million copies globally.
I must confess that I was not a huge fan of the style of writing of The Shack but the book still had a strong impact on me. It was because it left me with a clearer image, and a greater understanding, of God as Trinity than I have ever got from more academic books. As it so often can, fiction touches the parts that non-fiction simply can’t reach.
In The Shack, Wm Paul Young showed an unusual ability to convey orthodox perspectives on complex theology in a bold, imaginative and provocative way. The question is, will his follow-up novel do the same?
So what’s ‘Cross Roads’ all about?
Cross Roads is about a multi-millionnaire, Anthony Spencer who is trapped in a coma and finds himself in a surreal world which reflects the skewed priorities of the live he has lived on earth. In this world he meets a stranger who turns out to be Jesus and a grandmother who is the Holy Spirit.
Pleading for a second chance, he is sent back to earth to redeem himself. There he must fight to put right the mess he has created, experiencing events through others eyes before deciding how to use the miraculous gift he’s been given.
This is a short exert from the book where Anthony is discussing issues of justice and fairness with the grandmother character:
“It just doesn’t seem fair.”
“Fair?” Grandmother mumbled, “That’s a good one. Anthony, there is nothin’ fair in a broken world full of broken people. Justice tries to be fair, but fails at every turn. There is never anything fair about grace or forgiveness. Punishment never restores fair. Confession doesn’t make things fair. Life is not about granting the fair reward for the right performance. Contracts, lawyers, disease, power, none of these care about fair. Better to take dead words out of your languages, maybe focus on living words like mercy and kindness and forgiveness and grace. You might stop being so concerned about your rights and what you think is fair.” She looked up from her rant. “Just sayin’ . . .”
They were silent for a time, again watching the fire burn down….
…She let him sit inside his own judgment, wrestling with the implications of how he looked at everything, and everyone. It made him feel sick inside. He was internally facing another massive darkness that he had long treasured, and it grew as he rationally scrambled to justify himself. No matter the mental gymnastics or how he tried to mask it, his first inclination to pass judgment emerged more hideous and terrifying, a threat that might destroy anything within him that could ever have been considered good…
Your chance to get a free copy of Crossr Roads
I am still reading the book and we’ll post a review in the days to come. But in the meantime, the publishers gave R&R 5 hardback copies of the book (worth £17.99) which we are offering free to our readers.
We have written previously about the spiritual impact of fictional stories such as Narnia and Pilgrim’s Progress and the films It’s a Wonderful Life and Attack the Block. So, to win a free copy of Cross Roads, all you have to do is to send us, in under 100 words, your answer to the following question:
Which works of fiction (book or film) have inspired you most in your spiritual journey?
Please email replies to me at firstname.lastname@example.org over the next week. The contributions we believe are the most inspiring will be published on the blog and you’ll have a copy of Cross Roads winging its way to you.