John Moses, former Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral
Interview by Allison Ward
I retired in July, and wanted time off to draw breath. I’ve just read two books by Salley Vickers. She is a refreshing writer, who writes in prose, but has poetry in her soul. The subtext to Mr Golightly’s Holiday, which appears to be about one man’s holiday, is actually about how God relates to the world. God is not heavy-handed, has a lightness of touch, and gives his creation autonomy. It’s good theology as a novel. It also shows how people can act as catalysts in the lives of others; it looks at redemption and atonement, and at how we confront evil to save someone.
The Other Side of You is a totally different subject: the story of a therapist whose woman client refuses to talk. He breaks every professional rule: they have a drink together, and he lies on the floor during a session. To help her open up, he brings his story into hers. Again, there is a theological subtext, of God carrying the pain of creation. I don’t think it’s a bad way of looking at the cross.
If we’re thinking of evangelising to others, of showing them that Christianity is intellectually re-spectable and relevant to their lives, then novels are often more useful than “theology”. They break through to people’s minds and hearts.’
Salley Vickers, Mr Golightly’s Holiday, Harper Perennial, £7.99, 0-00-715648-0; Salley Vickers, The Other Side of You, Fourth Estate, £14.99 (£13.50), 0-00-716544-7