Poelman’s weighty inquiry into the biblical origins of evil is at times hard to follow but is notable for its hopeful vision...




An exploration of Christian attitudes toward evil, complete with hopeful predictions for the world.

  Over the course of 30 chapters—with titles like “Evil: A Choice” and “Why Evil is Called Satan”—Poelman makes the provocative case that what the Bible says about evil has been misinterpreted by everyone from laity to Martin Luther. Through his close reading of several different translations, and with copious scriptural citations to support his arguments, Poelman purports to demonstrate the largely symbolic role of the biblical Satan and makes a case that as individuals accept greater responsibility for evil actions, the earth advances toward a “comforting, long-term restoration of humanity.” Unfortunately, 30 chapters is far more than these arguments need, and Poelman frequently finds himself deep in the weeds on esoteric issues, such as when he quotes eight different selections of scripture in a row to make a point about the form of Jesus’ holy being. The lack of a clearly stated thesis and the absence of summaries of Poelman’s arguments contribute to a sense that the theological tangents are more rambling than vital. For example, Poelman builds up to a claim that the interconnectedness of our modern world is a sign that the Kingdom of God appears on Earth several times, seemingly as if he’s lost track of the fact that he made the point already. Yet much of Poelman's thinking about the subject of evil is appealingly humanistic, and his attempt at a scholarly tone—though undermined by the use of nonscholarly sources, such as Parade magazine—brings an admirable restraint to potentially inflammatory topics. Poelman presents an optimistic vision for humankind: As we learn the true nature of evil, we are mastering it and eradicating it from the world, paving the way for a glorious and peaceable age. With a message like that, and a polemic perhaps a quarter of this manuscript’s length, Poelman could be a moderating voice in contemporary theological discussions.  

Poelman’s weighty inquiry into the biblical origins of evil is at times hard to follow but is notable for its hopeful vision for humankind.

Pub Date: March 22, 2011

ISBN: 979-1449002954

Page Count: 433

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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