Charles Williams was one of the Inklings, the famous literary group that included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien. Charles Williams books have been picked up by Open Media, an ebook publisher that has focused on 20th century literary fiction that is out of print. Open Media has a daily sale with five sale books and a free public domain books. Over the past couple months I have picked up two of Charles Williams’ books for $1.99. All Hallow’s Eve is the first I have read (and the last book he wrote.)
When I read review of Charles Williams’ books they are most often described as odd or strange. Williams was interested in the supernatural. While I would not consider All Hallow’s Eve all that odd of a book, it is a ghost story. Which I think is an odd choice for Christian fiction. Charles Williams was not writing ‘Christian’ fiction. The category did not really exist in the 1930-1940s when he was writing. He was writing fiction and he was a Christian. His faith is evident in the story, but it is not explicit like Lewis’ fiction but more a part of the worldview of the author like Tolkien’s fiction was.
Early in All Hallow’s Eve we realize that the main character (Lester, a woman) and her friend (Evelyn) died in a freak accident when a plane crashed and killed them as they were walking in London. Lester and Evelyn wander in an alternative London and eventually realized that they are dead and remember who they are, and who has been left behind.
The story progresses both in the alternate London and in the real London, picking up story lines and filling out the story. Once the story has been fully introduced we find that an evil magician is trying to take over the world.
Those that are alive and that are dead come together to deal with a man’s evil plan. But there is also the force of Light (God) that assists them.
A Facebook friend writes and podcasts about Horror (particularly movies) and its use in exploring Christianity. I am not a huge fan of horror fiction. (All Hallow’s Eve is more a ghost story than full blown horror novel.) But I agree with Blake that there are concepts in Christianity that can only seem to be explored in fiction. And some of those concepts are best explored in the horror genre.
If you like odd spiritualist novels I think Charles Williams is worth picking up. My next book of his will be the Place of the Lion.