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The Reward of Faith and Other Stories by…
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The Reward of Faith and Other Stories (1950)

by Elizabeth Goudge

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Periodically I make a visit to the library to pick a batch of books from authors whom I have never heard of before, in order to bring a bit more variety into my reading than I achieve by just choosing multiple works of the same authors over and over again.
The thrill of meeting a new author, although daunting at first, just like meeting a whole bunch of new people in real life, in the end is extremely rewarding, and of course, all of my current favourite authors were to me at one time just an unknown author whose works were sitting on a shelf waiting for me to get the guts to try them out.
Elizabeth Goudge was an author of whom I picked up this book by random choice at the library one day.
So, there is the preamble.
I find it difficult to describe the mood of these stories. The packaging, the blurb and author biography led me to believe that these would be Sunday School stories or grown-up stories about religious lessons to be learned. I realize that author pictures and bios and blurbs are about the last thing you should use if you want to obtain pure reading experience, and you should let the author speak for him or herself without all of this outside interference. It would be better if we went back to whenever the days were when there was a blank cover with the author name and title, and if you wanted to find out in the shop if you actually wanted to read a book, you would do it the right way by reading a couple of paragraphs or pages here and there in the book. But obviously those days are gone. Now instead we have advertising and marketing. But on the other side of the coin, it was my own devious mind that filled in those assumptions, not the explicit text of the blurb or bio. Nobody else's fault.
(Furthermore, contrary to the above statements in every respect, what more wonderful than great cover art to give a book an added boost of indication to all the wonderful things to be found in the book.)
Once I got into the actual text of the book I was treated to a prose style that was based somewhat on Sunday School story books that I read as a child, but somehow a much higher quality, just what you might expect if Kipling or Galsworthy had decided to write a story about a Biblical subject. (Who knows, maybe they already did, and I just have not found it yet.) Of course, Elizabeth Goudge has no need of those two men to give her permission to write, or for them to give me yardsticks for comparison. She is her own writer. It is just me trying to pigeon-hole the writer.
So now having come around full-circle, I will just say that the prose style and the content are captivating, even though I felt previously that I had grown up from the need for Sunday School stories--O, haughty delusion that you hold, LibraryHermit--and the power of storytelling is still alive and well, from the days of Homer and Moses and the epic of Gilgamesh, all the way to the present day. Topics of stories, and whether Sunday School is involved or not, are not so relevant; all that counts is imagination, wonder, and skill at telling a really good yarn.
Highly recommended. I will try to find other books from this author.
  libraryhermit | Apr 10, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Goudgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pellew, ClaughtonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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All Elizabeth Goudge's religious stories in one volume, including three specially written for this antholgy.
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