Randy Alcorn is a beloved evangelical author with numerous bestselling titles in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. One of his strong suits is the great enthusiasm and heart with which he writes every single word. In this newest work of fiction (which reads more like real life), his ability to transcend the lines between what is real versus what isn't simply shines. This skill enables readers themselves to transcend from simply reading another individual's story to personalizing the underlying thematic spiritual takeaways. Alcorn's large reading base will especially appreciate this allegorical storyline as it is based on another of his works, EDGE OF ETERNITY, and that book's character, Nick Seagrave.
In THE CHASM: A Journey to the Edge of Life, Nick finds himself climbing upward amidst sharp inclines of rocks and shale to reach an overlook in hopes of spying the "shining city" he absolutely had to reach. He finally stands upon the ledge and is utterly dismayed; it is even worse than what he had been told. There lies the chasm, completely unavoidable and unimaginable, before Nick's eyes and below his feet. Sucking all hope from his heart, Nick mentally compared standing in front of the Grand Canyon with his family years earlier. He then recalled how this chasm was similar to the grave he had dug for his dog's burial when he was only 10 years old. He still had to get to Charis, that shining city, but how?
Revisiting his journey so far with his fellow travelers, Nick began mentally summarizing the challenge before him as he assessed his own strengths as a successful businessman and entrepreneur. Confidence was one thing Nick wasn't lacking, but being honest with himself --- truly honest --- was indeed a problem. Interestingly, in order for him to move toward this city of lights, he had to take various (and frequently painful) paths in and through his own mired past. He was reminded, none so gently, of losing his family by making selfish, self-centered choices that ended up costing him and them dearly. Confronted also with intellectual pursuits, false idols and religions, hidden lusts, and more, Nick is continually challenged to discern between good and evil at every step. Throughout this story, he is escorted on various roads by different characters as well, each of whom represent a person of religious significance to him. By journey's end, Alcorn pulls all the symbolic threads together and unveils a strong message that is both timeless and timely.
Another bonus is the 12 black and white line drawings included here, which give a strong visual representation to readers as they imagine the varied circumstances in which Nick finds himself. Alcorn also offers a Reader's Guide that will encourage individuals to dig deeper into each chapter's symbolism and meanings.
THE CHASM is an excellent companion to EDGE OF ETERNITY that allows readers to continue to explore the same life challenges faced by everyone who inhabits planet Earth.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on February 8, 2011