I have to think of this book as a fable or parable in order to appreciate it. We're not given fully realized characters in those stories; instead, the characters are meant to prompt reflection on our own actions. They are not more archetypal than fictional. This description is not a detraction. The characters themselves are fascinating, and the entire basis of the story is their search for spiritual truth. To take a turn from Francis Bacon, some books are meant to be savored like a delicacy, to be considered and turned over in our minds long after we have finished them and moved on. I believe "Lost Mission" is such a book.
The story floats back and forth between three people in the present, and three friars in eighteenth-century Spanish America who seek to found a new mission to reach the local native population. The thrust of the novel is centered around what Christian obedience actually means, and is especially targeted at the notions of piety developed in upper middle class American Protestantism. The story itself is "simple," which does not mean trite or idiotic. Instead, as is perfectly natural for a fable, many layers of reality are excluded.
Fortunately, this author is able to tell a parable well by focusing on what matters in a story like this: the characters. Two of the characters are too hot, not in their fervor for God, but in their obsession with a personal opinion of service that blinds to the truth. I also appreciated the depiction of characters who became "too cold," who lose sight of what is right in favor of what is good. Both types have lost sight of who defines being a Christian: Jesus. Thus both pursue courses of action that are ultimately destructive to themselves and others.
The final two characters attempt to find a middle ground, a means of serving God and their fellow man with compassion and integrity. When those around them bring catastrophe, both suffer sorrow over their perceived failure. Unlike the other characters, though, they continually reject the trap of self pity or justification, instead seeking God's help to overcome obstacles. In both instances, God uses their weak, imperfect, but steadfast service to accomplish something they can't see and could never have imagined.
"Lost Mission" is not the book you might think it is. Don't look for reality. Instead, allow the unreality of the story and its plot points to direct you inward and then outward. The message of the story overshadow the leaps of faith the plot requires. Allow this 200-year tale to lift you up, and you will be inspired.
I find this book confusing with the jumping back and forth between eras. The writer does have a way of pointing you in the other direction. I find that I get into one era then end up in another too soon. I've just started reading Lost Mission. I will keep going. The authors way of writing is different then any other that I have read.
This is one of the most depressing books I've read in many years. It is also one of the most repetitious and predictable novels I've ever read. I bought it because of the reviews I read and after reading the book I wondered if I'd read the same one. Very disappointed. Waste of my time - I kept reading thinking it would get better and also felt it was a huge waste of my money. I still fail to see the point the author was trying to make.
All right, I confess. Athol Dickson is my friend and he gave me a copy of his book in exchange for one of my own. But I promise you that my glowing review of his book has nothing to do with any of that. Lost Mission by Athol Dickson is one of the most brilliant and compelling reads I've come across in a very long time. This skilled author has the ability to span the centuries and interweave two stories to make them one; the result is a breathtaking and epic saga of human endurance and humble love.If you're looking for just the right Christmas present (for yourself and/or someone else!), I highly recommend this excellent book.
Dickson takes no time to get you into the story. I found myself thrown into the wild world that Dickson creates in Lost Mission. I was drawn in by several things at the beginning. I appreciate his depicting of history and his depth of characters. It was slightly confusing until you realize there are two parts happening one is historical with the Indians and the Franciscan monks trying to evangelize to the Natives (having grandparents who have talked deeply about this experience in the Canadian Residential schools in the early 1900s , really enlived this book for myself), and than one more modern with a girl named Lupe who believes she is on a mission from God. Once you actually figure that part out, youll find it easier to follow.Without giving too much away from the book I think youll find it compelling, as well as interesting enough to cover a wide audience. It dabbles in so many different genres Im not sure I could label it historal, modern, suspense, even a bit of romance throw in some illegal immigration and youve got yourself a intriguing story. I enjoyed it! However, know that its not wrapped up in a neat package. I think thats what I like most about it; that its not a clean cut happily ever after kind of book.