by Chuck Kincaid
The Magic Lamb by Chuck Kincaid centers on the experiences of Nat Devane, a magician whose upbringing in a generally religious family seems to influence his adult perspective. Frequently positioning the relative mysteries of performing a magic trick to certain Christian principles whose reality may be difficult to prove, the narrative takes a look at the nuances of human nature within the frame of a sometimes-confusing modern American culture.
As a young man, Devane headed to Florida State “saddled with student loans, shackled by parental doubts, stooped under the atom bomb, and quaking in the certainty of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” His childhood acquaintance, Stanley Derusso, on the other hand, seemed to achieve a transformation after attending a “revival,” returning to define himself as a “changed man.”
While Devane questions the veracity of the claim, in the novel’s present, he encounters Derusso again in the form of a television program in which he becomes an example for the statement “Miracles happen.” Now the “business manager” for a ministry, “Brother Stan,” as he is known, expresses a degree of suspicion about Devane’s motive when he pays him a visit.
As a magician, Devane knows a little about trickery and begins to investigate, trying to determine where the line might be drawn between spiritual belief and a possible human tendency toward deception or materialism. He takes an interest in Miss Heddy’s daughter Maggie. As the work progresses, Devane is drawn into the seeming complexities of the ministry and its members as he strives to come to terms with his own understanding of the “truth.” While his past association with Stan leaves Devane rather indifferent to the man’s fate, he worries about “the innocents” who might also be affected if certain details about the ministry’s development were to emerge.
With a title implying more than one level of meaning, The Magic Lamb by Chuck Kincaid ponders issues relating to faith, identity, and mortality based on a particular vision of how each might occur in a society where a person’s ulterior motive often fails to coincide with a profession of morality. Blending elements of romance and suspense, the volume ponders the extent to which an individual might be willing to go in an effort to achieve a notion of success. Overall, the novel is designed to entertain as well as to provoke thought.
(2006, paperback, 368 pages)
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