So I was especially pleased to see a comment about Charis's faith from poet Sally Thomas, discussing a review at the DarwinCatholic blog. Here it is, pilfered from facebook:
I particularly appreciate the allusion to Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy in this review. I hadn't thought of those two novels as parallel in any way, but among other things, a comparison on the point of the un-ironic handling of religious sensibility is apt. It is so very, very easy for the contemporary novel to wink and nudge at the reader – the religious characters are either dumber than we are in their belief, or are hypocrites whom we see through (wink wink nudge nudge). Or else they're caught in amber, as not-quite-living relics of a not-quite-living past.
What I think both Charis and Mariette accomplish (though this is far from the only thing both novels accomplish) is to present a spectrum of characters, a whole human range of people, who all believe in God (and further, operate wholly within the world of a shared tradition of belief). There is awareness of a world outside that tradition – for Charis it's the indigenous tribes and the Catholic French. In fact, Charis goes farther in imagining the whole diverse tapestry of its world than I remember Mariette's doing. But the world that is each novel's focus is itself a tapestry of human personalities and livings-out of belief. This is part of why, as a novel taking up religion as a concern, each one rings true.And surprise, Sally Thomas is doing a launch for her poetry book Motherland on Zoom on this very day at 3:00! Go HERE if you want an invitation.