The Christian nature of Buchan’s writing is largely expressed through a theological reading of his thrillers, in which the lone hero is placed in a position vis-a-vis the universe akin to that of the Christian existentialist. By contrast, with the cousin-genre of the whodunit, the thriller places its protagonist in radical uncertainty, in which the mystery is not so much what happened as what is happening? The thriller is filled with moments of crisis. The hero must act in order to understand his situation; must make a decision and, by so doing, create authenticity. Where the whodunit is concerned with a community, the thriller is concerned with the individual; a genre of Protestant inclination, and one of Christian existentialism. Buchan is profitably read in the light of Kierkegaard (as is the more theologically troubling Graham Greene).Read the rest here.
Friday, July 24, 2009
A tribute to John Buchan
A great article in First Things Magazine on the underappreciated John Buchan, most famous for his book The 39 Steps. Buchan is one of the practitioners of what Digby Anderson has called "blood and morality" adventure stories: