cover image AT THE MANGER: The Stories of Those Who Were There

AT THE MANGER: The Stories of Those Who Were There

Peter Orullian, . . Descant, $16.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-9712909-0-7

The plot device that drives this collection is hardly new; just last Christmas, Max Lucado's One Incredible Moment adopted a similar approach of having the characters at the manger speak about their experiences in the first person. However, rarely has it been done as well as in Orullian's beautifully written anthology of loosely connected short stories. The book opens with the fable of Luke (no, not the Gospel writer), a down-on-his-luck carpenter whose wife convinces him to take a non-paying trial job doing a manger for a local innkeeper, just to demonstrate his skills. The manger becomes, of course, that manger, connecting Luke to the birth of Yeshua. The book succeeds because it imagines the interactions of non-biblical characters, rather than inserting tidy thought bubbles into the story for Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, etc. Here we are asked to conjecture how ordinary people might have responded to Yeshua's birth—and, by extension, how we would respond. (Oct. 21)