Lyrical New Voice

The Point‘s subtitle on the front cover gives away the plot. The book tells the story of a man’s reconciliation with God and the community through an unlikely source. That’s the what of the story, but the real substance of any book is the way the how of the story is written. Mr. Jefferson’s voice, his style and word choices, fill the pages with elegant descriptions of place and people. He evokes the mood of the island: contemplative and peaceful. When I’d finished, I had felt almost as if I had been to the island and experienced its charms.

The beauty of the descriptions was both the book’s strength and its weakness. The dialog seemed stilted and awkward in comparison. At many points, I would reread the descriptions because they were wonderful. When I hit a few pages of dialog, however, I found it easy to lay the book aside.

The plot is really a subplot, almost a proverb of the book’s central idea: “Faith is personal but never private. It’s a life shared in culture.” The experience of a couple as they attend the stories of the monks on the island balances the plot. The book reminds me of a detailed “what I did on my summer vacation” report.

If you’re looking for a stay-up-late-’til-it’s-finished book, this is not the one. If, however, you want a summer read for a quiet afternoon, this might just be it.

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