Tuesday, February 19, 2013


The Listener, Taylor Caldwell, Doubleday & Company Inc, 1960, 332 pp

I did not like one thing about this book. The perils of my self-imposed Big Fat Reading Project. I only read Taylor Caldwell because she keeps showing up on the bestseller lists. There will be four more, but finally in the mid 1970s she fades away. Ever since she got on her weird variety of Christian writing, she went right downhill in my opinion. But people who read books for comfort or reassurance from a Christian standpoint seem to like her which explains how she made #8 on the bestseller list for 1960.

The Listener is not even really a novel. It is a collection of stories connected by the visits of each character to an odd sort of shrine in an unnamed midwestern city. The shrine is named The Man Who Listens. People from various walks of life come and talk to a curtain, tell their troubles, then open the curtain and realize they have been talking to God. They see the answers to their problems and then go straighten out their lives.

It felt highly contrived and gave Caldwell a platform from which she preached in a reactionary tone about the evils of modern society. I confess, I did a lot of skimming but kept on to the end. It did not get any better. In fact it got worse until I was gagging when I finished.

(The Listener is out of print, available in libraries and from used book sellers, also curiously, it is available as an eBook from your usual eBook sellers.)

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