The Corner

God-Shaped Hole

A dispiriting story from Andrew Klavan (on his blog):

When my Young Adult thriller novel, The Long Way Home, was submitted to my British publishers, they tried to delete many of the references to the hero’s religious faith. My British editor feared that Waterstone’s—the UK’s biggest bookstore chain—would be reluctant to carry a book with an overtly Christian hero.

Now, I’m careful not to preach in these novels. I merely allow my narrator, Charlie West, to act and think as he would in life. For instance, in the book’s opening, Charlie takes 200 dollars off an assassin who tried to kill him. “Yes, I know the Ten Commandments,” Charlie tells us, “and yes, I know you’re not supposed to steal. But this didn’t feel like stealing.” The Brits wanted to cut the reference to the Ten Commandments.

I refused to allow these changes. I felt they were bigoted and absurd. As a result, my British editor says, Waterstone’s did indeed order far fewer copies of this book than they had ordered of its prequel, despite that earlier book’s success.

Listen here to my podcast with Klavan on The Long Way Home.

UPDATE: Of course, if you’re Philip Pullman and you want to write an anti-Christian book, your British publisher will love you.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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