Book reviews

A Dislocated Book Club!..

This idea was born at the doctoral colloquium (which also included a student-led conference on Migration and Dislocation, hence the title) – and here’s Rosa’s first suggestion for the Book Club. We’ll figure out how we technically conduct the discussion, but for now, read the blog – and then the first suggested book!..

Hello and welcome to the IBTS dislocated book club. This grew out of a discussion following worship at the recent IBTS research colloquium in Amsterdam – some of us were excited about the possibility of having a forum where we could share our thoughts about good books to read and offer our feedback. This book club has very soft boundaries: everybody is welcome, and your comments don’t need to be particularly sophisticated or artistic. Honest will do.

Ivana suggested that we could extend it to movies too, so feel free to recommend a movie you’ve enjoyed.

Here is my contribution to start the ball rolling: the book Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. On one level this is a fairy tale for adults, complete with all the necessary ingredients: giants, angels, magical powers, alternative universes, and three challenges to solve in order to rescue the key from the monk guardians … On another level this is a story about London, the Underground (metro) system, and dislocation: what happens to the people who fall through the cracks of the London we can see? On yet another level, it is about the hero having to choose between three visions of reality. Mainly, though, it’s a lot of fun, and if you enjoy Terry Pratchett or Narnia you’ll probably enjoy this.

I look forward to reading your suggestions now …


– Rosa



  • Jamie

    I look forward to reading together, distantly…. do we have a time frame to read the first book within? Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Rosa!


  • Rosa

    Hi Jamie,
    Well I don’t think I can impose a time frame! Did you want to post your suggestion too so people have a choice of two?

  • Jamie

    Another suggestion is The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russel. It is the first of a 2 part series; the sequel is Children of God. (I’m not suggesting that we read both, but I won’t stop anyone if they get pulled into it!)

    The title refers to Matthew 10:29-31, which relates that not even a sparrow falls to the earth without God’s knowing of it. It is set in the not so distant future, where alien life form is detected via their music. Naturally, the Jesuits are the first to send an envoy.

    For more info, see

    It might be an interesting continuation on the theme of Dislocation.

  • Rosa

    It sounds fabulous. I will treat myself to it once I have sent Ivana and Wido my introduction and conclusion in March … it will be a great Easter holiday treat. I loved CS Lewis’ Perelandra science fiction books …

  • Andrew

    Thanks for suggesting the book ‘Neverwhere.’ I read it last week. I enjoyed it. Not a burdensome read. The book held my interest, building intensity as it went along. A lot of betrayals, but in the end also some deep loyalty and love from unexpected characters. The few times I’ve been in London enhanced my appreciation for the scenes. That Richard picked up Door on the street, in spite of his financee’s objections, did, however, seem rather hard to explain at first…although I now attribute that action to Richard having a deeper/better character than I first realized. Several of the characters were quite vivid, and remain in my imagination. Thanks for the recommendation. (BTW, does the book have a sequel?)

  • Rosa

    Thanks for that Andrew. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I don’t think there’s a sequel as such, but I recently enjoyed another book of his: The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s much darker but another excellent read, again based on a magical universe, with an episode towards the end that made me reflect on divine self-limitation and the incarnation. A sort of omnipotent omniscient character renounces her abilities because she wanted to be able to play on earth…and the book also raises the question of how you should live your life if someone else has died to make that life possible.
    Now – your turn! Can you suggest a book?

  • Andrew

    Another book suggestion (besides the one above from Jamie), would be Anne Rice’s novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.” I read it some years ago, and was taken with many of the images. I’d love to have a discussion about it (and its sequel, subtitled ‘The Road to Cana.’)

    Let us know which book is next in our book club.

  • Rosa

    I think we should go with Jamie’s suggestion (The Sparrow). Then we’ll read “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” next. Right, I’m off to download The Sparrow now …

  • Michael Bonser

    Hi, I am not yet part of the IBTS community but hope to be in the not too distant future. I hope you don’t mind me using your reading list. I have read and enjoyed all three of the suggestions so far.
    I was not familiar with “Neverwhere”. Is Richard’s first act of rebellion against Jessica, in helping Door, the first step of a journey to the discovery of true identity and integrity?
    I remember reading “The Sparrow” when it was first published. It was good to read it again. I have just begun “Children of God”.
    I want to read John Oxenham’s “The Hidden Years” to see if it compares in anyway with “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt”. I found the first page, the murder of Eleazar, unfitting.

  • Rosa

    Hi Michael- welcome to the club! Thanks for your contribution. I agree that the murder of Eleazar was a shocking start to the book, and it nearly put me off the rest of it … which would have been a shame as I thought that it was carefully researched and offered some excellent, thoughtful insights into the incarnation.
    Would you like to suggest a book for us to read next?

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