Chana's Reviews > Heaven Lake

Heaven Lake by John Dalton (fiction)
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's review
Nov 20, 12

bookshelves: china, literature-fiction, taiwan, released-through-bookcrossing
Read on March 27, 2012

Such a well-written book, so smooth it is nearly seamless, reads like real life all the way, beautiful!
Vincent, a young man from Red Bud Illinois, joins an overseas Christian missionary organization and sets up a ministry house in Taiwan. He is full of righteous conviction and zealous energy. He sets up a ministry house and starts giving classes in both English and Bible studies. He is hired as a teacher both privately and by a couple of schools. The trouble starts with overtures made by a teenage girl in one of his classes. He knows better but he gets involved, gets beat up, gets conned and ends up traveling to Urumchi in Mainland China to marry a girl under false pretenses in order to bring her back to Taiwan for a wealthy businessman to marry. What a story! What is amazing to me is how real Vincent is to the reader; clumsy and full of grace, intelligent and stupid, irreligious and more deeply connected to the Infinite than ever before. He makes some unlikely alliances along the way and manages to make serious inroads on fixing his mistakes, while admitting that he is not altogether so perfect, certainly he has his flaws.
Altogether a lovely book that I enjoyed a lot.
I read one review by a Christian who was upset by Vincent's lack of moral strength, and basically his dropping his narrow faith for something broader and less defined. In a mood to consider this I wondered if I would have liked this book as well if the main character had been a young Rabbinical student rather than a missionary. I have to admit that I would not. Part of the reason I could enjoy it is that it did not offend my particular alliances, even though I did not approve of his relationship with his teenage student.
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