Monday, April 12, 2010

CSFF Blog Tour: Lost Mission Day One

This time around, we'll be considering Lost Mission by Athol Dickson.

This book follows a variety of different character whose lives intersect and collide at different times and in many different ways. There's Lupe, a Mexican shop owner who decides to leave everything she knows to travel north to be a missionary to the Americans. There's Tucker, a young pastor who faces difficulty and hardship, not just because he creates a church to minister to the Latino community but also because of his personal choices. There's Delano, a wealthy Christian who allows his personal pain to spur him on to a supposedly grand plan. And threaded through all of their lives is Fray Alejandro, a Franciscan brother who lives four hundred years earlier. All of these characters are faced with hard choices and heavy consequences.

Truth be told, I had to struggle with this book. I had to force myself to keep reading through the first half. Somewhere a little past the half-way point, I was surprised to find I wanted to keep reading. Then past the three-quarters mark, I had to keep reading. I suppose you could say that the book grew on me.

Dickson is definitely a talented writer, no doubt about it. It took me a while to appreciate that. He skillfully wove together each chapter, starting with Alejandro's time period and then thematically linking what the brother experienced with a character in modern times.

My initial reluctance regarding this book is more my problem than his. I reacted badly to his style; Dickson writes this book in a sort of detached manner with a sort of omniscient narrator handling most of the story. Plus every chapter contained a sort of mini-sermon. When I first started reading, the omniscient voice threw me and the mini-sermons kind of turned me off. I got used to the former and wound up skimming the latter.

But that's just me. I want to make that clear. And I did come to enjoy the story toward the middle and, by the end, I had to stay up late one night to finish reading it.

So would I recommend this book to other people? Sure. It's well written and in the end, it left me profoundly uncomfortable (and that's a good thing; it's one of those "afflict the comfortable" type of books).

Go and see what the other tourists had to say:

Brandon Barr
Keanan Brand
Amy Browning
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Timothy Hicks
Jason Isbell
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Dawn King
Rebecca LuElla Miller
New Authors Fellowship
Donita K. Paul
Crista Richey
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
KM Wilsher


Fantasythyme said...

Good review, John. I was half way into Lost mission before getting hooked too. Dickson brought the two time periods and locales to life. I knew little about either before reading Lost Mission.


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

one of those "afflict the comfortable" type of books

That really sums it up, John. Great line.

I referred to the sections you called "sermons" as "contemplation," and once I realized that the contemplations were the transitions from the past to present, I liked them. I thought only one went on too long (unlike that by literary writers of classic status such as Herman Melville).

Looking forward to the rest of your posts, John.