By Charles Martin Genre: Fiction
Reviewed by A.B. 5/5 stars
Every so often I have the privilege of coming across a writer who has such an understanding of human nature and the deepest struggles of the heart that he can craft a story that reaches deep into the soul. Charles Martin is just such a writer. His latest novel, Long Way Gone, is a gorgeous, modern retelling of the prodigal son story.
Cooper O’Conner has a musical gift that even the best in the music industry would kill for, and he has the misfortune (at least from his perspective) of being born the son of a larger-than-life itinerant preacher, who wants to protect him from the pitfalls of early fame and fortune. After a devastating and shockingly public confrontation with his father, Cooper steals all that his father holds dear, including his life savings and heads to Nashville to make it big and to prove just how wrong his father is. The path that follows is paved with poverty, hunger, and deceit as Cooper, ashamed of the hurt he has caused, finds himself humbled and captivated by the gifted up-and-coming singer Daley Cross. Cooper and Daley team up and become a wildly successful musical duo with a popularity they have no idea how to control. Betrayed and stripped of his ability to perform, Cooper begins a painful journey back to his father with whom he hopes, at long last, to reconcile.
In classic Martin style, Long Way Gone is a story bigger than itself as the theme of forgiveness is emphasized by the truth that “no gone is too far gone” for God to take back his children. His message is that no matter what you’ve done or how deep the blackness of your heart, God looks for you even while you may be “a long way off” and welcomes you back with compassion and joy. Martin’s gift is not just in his ability to tell a good story, but in the beauty of the words that he uses to guide the reader along to the deeper truths of life. I’ve been reading novels by Charles Martin for several years now (Unwritten and The Mountain Between Us are two other favorites.), and I can say confidently that reading his novels is an enriching, life-altering experience. This newest addition would make an excellent Christmas gift for the readers in your life and for anyone who needs to find his way back home.
Purchase Long Way Gone.
Learn more about Charles Martin.
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