The Princess Adelina — book comments

I’ve only finished one book this year (though I’ve made use of many).

The “season of transition/discovery” is still on, so, just as I last year abandoned the no-buying-books idea that sounded really good January 1st, so I’ve let go any pre-imagined idea of reading and writing this season.

I am doing both, but they are being done in a utilitarian way, not in any way that could be called orderly or disciplined.

But then, that’s almost redundant to say on this blog, since that seems to be the regular pattern and progression of my growth.

Anyway, on to the book, finished clear back on January 6.

~ ~ ~

This was a fascinating example of story overcoming its way of being told.

I, along with many of the snarky unpublished, have at times commented in a vague (or not-so-vague) way about the amateur quality of writing in certain popular books.

With this day I hope I am done with such comments, being, I believe, founded largely on an assumed standard that (while useful) is frequently ignored without great loss.

What I speak of in this book isn’t just an over use of adverbs, or (just) telling versus showing, but the wrestling between my wanting to know what happens next and feeling slowed in that finding by the sloppy-choppy means of presentation.

You might gather from the rhythm of this writing that the book was written in a rather archaic and stilted style. (It is one of my characteristics– I almost wrote flaws— to fall into the rhythm of language I’ve been nearest.)

This book is reprinted from a series of missionary stories that took place in the first millenium A.D., recounting the entrance of the gospel into heathen Europe (in this story’s case, Germany, in 703).

It is a painfully beautiful example of God as the perfect writer, calling together all those circumstances, “coincidences” and personalities that create the most satisfying story.  The one we’re too cynical to “allow” or believe before we know it’s true— though everything happens as our heart tells us it “should.”

The only example I dare give is a pagan perjuring himself by his god and own right hand.  He loses that hand– but not as soon or in the way I expected.  And still, as seems to be the message of the whole story, God’s gracious compassion “conquers all.”

There is not always peace for the good (“You will have suffering in this world.“) but God will not be mocked.  His will is accomplished (“Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”).

It needs re-written.  It need a broader audience.  But (in a manner that I think the ESV translators also use) there is something with the stilted delivery, in it’s very austerity and clunkiness, that lends authority to the telling.

If I ever attempt Script Frenzy it might be on this narrative. I think for our jaded world to embrace this story we’d have to have some intensely sincere performances.  But with those it could soar.

This is an effective example of God’s divine orchestration of the lives of kings, and when/if this gets brought to film, I pray it is every bit as solemn, amazing and believable as it deserves to be.

The story itself is about a Christian girl who agrees to marry the pagan ruler of their corner of Germany in order to prevent to expulsion of the other Christian missionaries and their work.  She is a faithful wife and Christian, steadfastly standing for the unadulterated gospel while enduring slander and fear.

It is surprisingly romantic (in both senses of the word) and my only excuse for not having a more coherent review is that I’d have to translate the story itself first.

As it stands the best I feel I can do is give a very exciting list of bullet points, and that hardly seems appropriate for a book review.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *