Title: The Chair: A Novel
Author: James L. Rubart
Date: September 2011
Reviewed by: Lisa Lickel
When antique shopkeeper and furniture restorer Corin Roscoe receives a handcrafted chair from a mysterious elderly woman, his extreme addiction to sports is nothing compared to the rush of trying to stay alive.
Corin, who carries a huge chip on his shoulder, is estranged from his only brother, divorced, and barely keeping his business afloat. If it weren’t for hang gliding and other dangerous sports he and his friends enjoy, life would be miserable. Then a customer with a life-threatening illness rests in Corin’s chair and is later declared cured.
Curiosity abounds. Corin moves the chair to safekeeping, studies it, and even takes a sample for dating. Meanwhile, life unfolds, and readers get insight into Shasta, his wheelchair-bound brother, and Mark Jefferies, a famous evangelist searching for an ancient relic with curative powers. Corin, a history major, visits his former professor to seek advice.
Clues continue to peel away and mystery is added as Corin tests the chair’s healing powers, stretching his long-dormant faith muscles. When bad things start happening, he doesn’t know who to trust.
Rubart crafts intriguing settings with emotionally charged characters in yet another curious, spiritual mystery designed to both test and explore matters of faith. The “guy talk” is spot on, clipped, and coded, but the constant use of dates and types of artifacts made me feel occasionally like I was watching an Antiques Road Show commercial. The Chair is a friendship story with a pinch of romance, family disintegration, some gruesome suspense, and a stab at society’s deepest fears, loneliness and emotional and spiritual bankruptcy.
Jim Rubart fans, and those who enjoy spiritual mysticism, will like The Chair, his third novel, and look forward to his next offering.
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a 160-year-old house, built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her published novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She edits, writes book reviews and interviews, and has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles, and radio theater. She is the editor-in-chief of Creative Wisconsin magazine and OtherSheep, a Christian sci-fi/fantasy magazine. She loves to encourage new authors. The Map Quilt, coming April 2012.