The moment I picked up The Flower of Grass, I was intrigued. The impressionistic watercolor cover drew me, but also the tagline: A powerful novel of a prodigal’s return. The mother of a prodigal, I wondered what the book might resurrect of my own emotional journey.
The Flower of Grass is an introspective yet engaging contemporary Christian novel. Written in a hauntingly lyrical, poetic style, James Robinson draws readers into an artfully spun web of emotional intricacy. John Allen returns to his small southern home town after the death of his alcoholic, abusive father. John’s been gone for sixteen years and returns to make amends with his responsible and care-worn sister, with his dropout younger brother, and to face the love he abandoned as a teenager. Characters, torn by the circumstances of life, do not face easy decisions. Loved ones die painful and agonizing deaths. The dreams they envision are torn from their hands by those who once filled their hearts with promise. Fathers abuse them. Lovers betray them.
Through incisive insight and vivid imagery, this story paints portraits of the complexity of broken relationships, alcoholism, fidelity, and whether or not people can find hope in a world where fathers betray and abuse, and lovers walk out the door and never return. I recommend this book for anyone who has been a prodigal, who has known a prodigal, who has known failure, despair, desperation, betrayal, or lost love.
While not overly religious, The Flower of Grass presents a message of hope anchored to the biblical God of hope. The book makes use of limited profanity in keeping with the characters’ personalities and struggles. I recommend it to men and women interested in powerful fiction that digs to the roots of our human struggle with faith and our fallen nature.