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Shacked up

Clicking through The New York Times online this morning, Quillblog happened upon this article about a “surprise best seller,” The Shack. The novel, written by William P. Young, is a mosaic story of one man’s spiritual redemption through God.

From The Times:

Early in the novel the young daughter of the protagonist, Mack, is abducted. Four years later he visits the shack where evidence of the girl’s murder was discovered. He spends a weekend there in a kind of spiritual therapy session with God, who calls herself Papa; Jesus, who appears as a Jewish workman; and Sarayu, an indeterminately Asian woman who incarnates the Holy Spirit.

The Shack is currently sitting at No. 1 on The New York Times trade paperback fiction bestseller list, as well as the Borders and Barnes & Noble lists. The novel is outselling Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth in the United States.

The usual controversy and cries of “heresy!” from conservative Christian leaders surround The Shack. Times writer, Motoko Rich suggests this has fueled sales. Last month, Hachette Book Group USA partnered with the novel’s publisher, Windblown Books, and is now investing in subway advertisements in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, in addition to ads on the CNN airport network.

It seems the only thing stopping The Shack is the old sacred/secular divide. Kathryn Popoff, vice-president of merchandising of adult trade books at Borders says the book is “appealing to audiences beyond Christian readers” ” but a quick poke around The Shack‘s website indicates Young and co. hope the novel “will not only encourage those who already know Him but also engage those who have not yet recognized His work in their lives.”