Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It Ain't Jacob's "Shack"

When I see or hear the word "shack," I always think of Jacob's cabin (Jacob is a largely unseen character introduced in the third season of Entertainment Weekly's 8th best show for the past 25 years - i.e. LOST).

But I chanced upon this New York Times article regarding a surprise fiction bestseller - a Christian novel entitled "The Shack" - written by a former office manager from Gresham, Oregon, USA. According to Amazon.com's product description,

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!


Apparently, God is represented by an African-American woman; Jesus, by a Jewish workman (like Roger Work Man, hehe); and the Holy Spirit, by "an indeterminately Asian woman" named Sarayu. While some conservative Christian leaders and bloggers have attacked the novel as "heresy" and "deeply troubling," others initially disliked it but eventually liked it. One reader even said, “It brought God alive in a way that I think few books in literature ever do."

Anyway, it has even outsold Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose" and has hit #1 on the trade paperback fiction bestseller lists of the New York Times, Borders Group, and Barnes & Noble, among others. The NYT article attributes the book's success to word-of-mouth marketing (which is one of the most effective ways to market a debut book, self-published book, or both, according to Writer's Digest).

I haven't read this book, as I only encountered this title today. I will probably add this to my reading list for the year. So I can't say anything about it yet, except that it's nice to see a Christian novel hit #1 on the bestseller lists.

Have you read this book? How did you find it: "deeply troubling" or "one of the most remarkable books" you've read? Lemme know, will ya?

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