Saturday, April 5

Blink – Ted Dekker

Seth Borders is a bona fide genius, with a measured IQ 30 points higher than Einstein’s. He’s perplexed by the visions that start coming to him, of events that take place ten seconds later, until he realises they’re related to a young Arabic woman in danger. Miriam, a princess from the House of Saud, has fled to the US escaping a strategic marriage that will bring about a revolution in Saudi Arabia. As Seth and Miriam flee across the US, pursued by the State department and two separate groups of Saudis, Seth’s visions become more complex and longer, and his concepts of religion, belief and faith are profoundly questioned.
This is an interesting and unique novel that combines theology and fantasy, and action and adventure with multiculturalism. While I was reading Blink I was swept away by the premise, the switches between Seth’s world as a frustrated student in a rigid institution and Miriam’s as an intelligent woman curtailed in almost every respect by an ethos that means she has no voice and no control. The comparisons between Christianity and Islam were interesting, and their voyages no less so.
However, the longer I reflect, and I only finished Blink today, the more dissatisfaction I feel. Seth is somewhat of a Mary-Sue, pretty much perfect to a fault, and Miriam is - at least from a Western perspective - not far behind. I also had some concerns while I was reading the novel about the strong pro-Christian emphasis evident throughout the novel.

After initially writing this review I googled Mr Dekker and discovered that his writing is classed as Christian literature and that he had a Saul-and-Damascus moment, so this agenda is unsurprising if you're forewarned. I, however, was not, and as the novel is presented as coming from a more impartial observer. This also explains the reliance on deus ex machina, which I’m not a huge fan of when reading fantasy, and the slightly unresolved yet simultaneously wrapped up ending.
My experience with contemporary Christian literature (as opposed to the works of CS Lewis, for example), has primarily involved the Left Behind series, where a great idea was sorely let down by distressingly bad writing. That said, I managed to perservere through to book eight (of thirteen, I think) before quitting. Ted Dekker's writing is unquestionably better than that but there are, as I said, some problematic areas. As I was reading Blink I decided to try others of Dekker’s novels. I still think that, but with some reservations. – Alex

No comments: