Item description for The Novelist by Angela Elwell Hunt...
Overview Jordan Kerrigan's spy novels have sold millions---but her mentally ill son, Zack, seems beyond her power to help. As Zack's behavior grows increasingly dangerous and suicidal, Jordan's internal "inside the book" world overlaps with her painful everyday existence. A deeply moving exploration of fiction, faith, God's sovereignty, and man's free will. 320 pages, softcover from WestBow.
From the author who taught you to expect the unexpected...an intriguing tale about families, fiction, and what to do when life veers wildly off script.
It begins...when a smug college student challenges a best-selling novelist to write something "more personal." It begins...when a mother finds her troubled son slumped unconscious outside her house. It begins...when fiction and reality blur, and the novelist finds herself caught somewhere in the middle of it all. Where does it end? That all depends on who is telling the story...
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.36" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.74" Weight: 0.73 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2006
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595541586 ISBN13 6781185541581
Availability 0 units.
More About Angela Elwell Hunt
Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt is the best-selling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story. She has written over one hundred books in fiction and nonfiction, for children and adults. She and her husband make their home in Florida.
Angela Elwell Hunt currently resides in Tampa, in the state of Florida. Angela Elwell Hunt was born in 1957.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Novelist?
Disconcerting and unsettling Aug 1, 2008
The ending to this book was very disappointing to me because it diminished greatly the potential message of the story. It was as if it left you hanging. I felt it only reinforced current inaccurate views in our culture about mental illness.
Not Quite Mar 10, 2008
The writer on whom The Novelist is centered is one Jordan Casey Kerrigan, a woman who has become famous and wealthy due to the tremendous success of a James Bondish adventure series that everyone calls "The Tower series." Kerrigan has found a formula that works and she is milking it for all it is worth. Part of that formula is that, largely due to the Jordan Casey pen name she has chosen for herself and the fact that she allows no pictures of herself on her book jackets, Kerrigan is presumed by her readers to be male rather than female.
When she agrees to teach a highly anticipated writing class at her local community college, her students are shocked to discover her true gender, and one student soon challenges her to write something outside the formulaic safety net she has created for herself. Determined to teach her students that a combination of hard work and a good plan will allow them to write their own novels, she agrees that she will do just that and will share the process with them as part of her class.
Things are not going nearly as well for Kerrigan at home as she hopes they will go in the classroom. Her youngest child and only son, 21-year old Zack, has dropped out of college and moved back home in an attempt to beat his addiction to alcohol and drugs. Kerrigan and her husband feel helpless as each of their attempts to help Zack change his life end up as just another frustrated failure. Desperate for something that will help her cope with her son's problems, Kerrigan decides that she will write a novella for her class that might also help her get through to her son.
She decides to make the novella an allegory set in an otherworldly little town called Paradise, a town populated by innocents who, though they arrived as confused newcomers, have settled into a contented lifestyle. Things go well in Paradise until one newcomer, William, is faced with temptation and makes the wrong choice, a choice that makes it possible for evil to flourish in the town. Newcomer John arrives just when things in Paradise or at their worst and the town casino has become the source of ruin for citizen after citizen. John arrives with inside knowledge of the godlike Casey figure that most of the townspeople believe in, whether or not they admit it to themselves, and with offers of redemption for those who will accept them.
Kerrigan hopes that her son will identify with William, a young man who could not say no to temptation, and that he will get a message from the book that she cannot make him understand any other way. The chapters of The Novelist alternate between Kerrigan's home life and the fictional world of Paradise, with much of what William is going through in Paradise a reflection on what Zack and his family are going through in the real world. The question is whether Zack will follow William's example and find a solution for his despair and poor choices.
Angela Hunt has written an interesting novel but one whose message is delivered in a heavy-handed manner that lessens its impact. Her allegory is so straightforward that it demands little of the reader because of its predictability, a failing that steals much of the book's emotion and potential suspense as it builds to a conclusion. The Novelist, as it is set up, can have only one ending, an ending that became obvious very early in the book, and Hunt offers very few surprises along the way. There was much potential in Hunt's premise, but I do not believe that she delivered the book she wanted to deliver.
Unique, Compelling, Challenging Jul 23, 2007
The Novelist is part scientific study of the workings of the mind, a write-a-novel-in-simple-steps how-to guide, and allegory -- all in one book.
And it works.
I found myself itching to take notes when Jordan Casey taught her college class. I cried with Jordan as her life began to unravel and her heart began to despair. The story of William touched me and I rooted for his success in finding the meaning of life.
Satisfying and powerful stories woven together with theological lessons on God's sovereignty and valuable tips for wanna be novelists. Broken characters finding the path to redemption and restoration. An extremely unique and satisfying read.
Superb May 27, 2007
I couldn't put the book down. Hunt grabbed my attention from the first page and carried me with her main character, a successful novelist, Jordan Casey Kerrigan as she teaches a nevel writing class, 'An Introduction to Novel Writing,' at the local community college.
But guess what? Kerrigan's not only teaching the class in her book how to write a novel, she's also teaching, you, the reader. I picked up some great novel-writing pointers. Then as she writes a book for her novel class, the characters in her book (allegory) start to take on a life of their own. So now you are wrapped up in two stories in one because the novelist has some personal problems with her son, Zack, that she is going to try and work out through her novel and tells a story so her son can read her book and relate it to his own problem. She's telling him without telling him. What a wise writer Mom.
The book also has the Christian salvation theme in it. Hunt also uses her novelist's allegory to tell the creator's creation story and show how evil was introduced into a perfect world. It is superbly done.
The story is unique and that's what appeals and holds your attention, not to mention Hunt's flawless style of writing. It is a must-read book for a new novelist and a great read for any reader. The book has a surprising ending--so I won't tell it. Enjoy.
Trust the Author's Plan Mar 14, 2007
Angela Hunt insightfully creates wonderfully believable characters in Jordan Casey Kerrigan, best selling novelist, and her seminary professor husband, Carl. The Kerrigans live a comfortable life in the suburbs of Reno. The only major dilemma in their lives is the instability of their youngest child, twenty-one-year old Zachary.
After bringing Zack home from college in Utah after what seemed to be major bingeing episodes and a beating by thugs, Jordan and Carl pray that they can keep an eye on their son. They also pray that somehow Zack will grow out of his destructive behavior and become more interested in the life in Christ that they found not long ago.
Meanwhile, Jordan takes on teaching an evening fiction writing class at the local community college. When a badgering student challenges her to open a vein and write something more personal than her usual machismo loaded novels, an idea flourishes that Jordan believes may get a message through to her wayward son.
Jordan writes a brilliant allegorical novella (captured within the main story) as a teaching aid for her class. She also hopes to eventually use it to help capture the heart of her struggling son.
I don't always appreciate it when a writer attempts these feats of a story within a story, but I found this one intriguing and well developed. There were a few times while reading the allegory that I found myself wondering what was happening in the main story. But overall Hunt did a great job of holding my attention in both worlds.
The characters behave believably as many parents who find themselves in traumatic situations with their children. They struggle to know the right thing to say and do, and sometimes work harder keeping up appearances than being than being open, honest and real with their hurting children.
In resolving the story, Hunt takes an unexpected turn. Then we, along with her characters, are surprised by a heart-rending discovery.