Tagged: inklings

War in Heaven

War in Heaven by Charles Williams, 3/5

I’m not going to pretend that I understood the more esoteric implications of this bizarre spiritual thriller, but I certainly did enjoy its zany plot, humor, and original take on the ever-popular search for the Holy Grail. It’s not a particularly well-crafted novel, but it’s hard to fault a story that opens thusly:

The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse.

Why I read it: After my introduction to Charles Williams via All Hallows’ Eve, I wanted to read some of his other “novels of the supernatural,” of which War in Heaven is the first.

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All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows’ Eve by Charles Williams, 5/5

I had very little idea what to expect from this slim book and that, perhaps, is partly why I found it to be so absolutely astonishing (though pure novelty cannot account for that fully). I don’t want to give away too much, but think Gothic thriller meets supernatural romance in the interest of exploring highly-developed and unconventional theological beliefs. I was not at all surprised to later learn that Williams was a regular member of the Inklings, enjoying the friendship and literary criticism of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

This book demands to be re-read, but I would avoid this edition (Oxford Reprints) at all costs. The binding has that ubiquitously cheap, self-published feel and the text contains a baffling number of typos. Most egregious of all is the use of hyphens in place of em dashes. I know how pedantic that complaint sounds, but Williams used em dashes often and in very long sentences. The relentless and incorrect use of hyphens disrupted visual flow in addition to hindering comprehension.

Why I read it: another entry on the list of 10 Forgotten Fantastical Novels You Should Read Immediately.