Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Heart of the Matter

Just finished this novel, which is quite beautiful in its odd way, and strikes me -- however it may have struck other people -- as a deconstruction of Catholicism, and of Christianity generally. What does it mean to suffer for others? Does the idea even make sense? Does expiation by suffering create goodness, or poison it? Or both?

And can pity be a vice? It can be, I think, and this novel seems to think so too: a version of pride, of believing we can take care of people, that we know best for them, that we can intercede for them. And believing that so strongly, it's only a small step to deceiving them for their own good: protecting them from information that would only hurt them. The more we take on, the more we isolate ourselves, and the more we forget that we ourselves are deceived and pitiable and desperately in need of help.


Steven Cain said...

Oh. That is now officially on my to-read list. Thanks for the post.

Dale said...

It's a wonderful novel!

Jeff said...

You've left me so intrigued by this novel that I'm hoping to pick up a copy when I'm near a bookstore tonight. I work part-time for a small, local charity, and these are questions some of us ask ourselves all the time. I'm finding that a thoughtful detachment is more effective (and sustainable) than a drenching compassion, so I'm eager to see how others attempt to answer these questions, no matter the scale or scope.