Religion: Three Irreverent Authors

Their potboilers shed less than heavenly light

Not all religious novels sell like hot cakes, or even warm wafers. Yet three current novels are attracting not only critical attention but also big sales (big enough, in one case, to make a bestseller list). All are written by authors who have departed from the clergy or the Christian faith, whether with fondness or fury. Unlike the dropout novelists who used to probe spiritual angst, these religious refugees concoct unholy plots that scarcely show church and clergy at their best. Witness the story line of each:...

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