Best Catholic Fiction ?

Looking for some good fiction. What is the best work of Catholic fiction you have read?

Flannery O’Connor - Collected Works
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter series

Can’t go wrong with either.

J. K. Rowling does not write Catholic fiction.
Flannery O’Connor is an excellent choice. Also, G. K. Chesterton wrote many poems, novels and short stories. He is so basic to Catholic thinking and writing, it is hard to have an understanding of Catholic writing without reading at least a little of it.

J. R. R. Tolkein wrote the Lord of the Rings, and much related to that. If you are into fantasy, you may well like that. Graham Greene was a movie maker’s delight. I don’t care for his writing so much in that he not only visits ambiguous moral issues, he **lives **there, but that is just my opinion. Check him out.

Oscar Wilde, Hugh Benson, Evelyn Waugh, there are countless good ones in the first half of the 20th century. I guessed you want something in English and not too far back, like the Divine Comedy, but IDK.

Louis de Wohl wrote several novelizations of the lives of several saints but my favorite novel is “The Spear” which is about the crucifixion.

Marcus Grodi wrote a fictionalized account of his own conversion story, “How Firm a Foundation”.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith, while maybe not a Catholic novel by definition, is one that portrays a Catholic family’s struggles in turn of the century Brooklyn (last century, of course!)

Here is a website that will help you find some contemporary Catholic fiction:

I will second all of this, specifically Robert Hugh Benson. He used to be an Anglican before he converted to Catholicism. “Lord of the World” and “Dawn of All” are good. Both Dystopian novels with “Come Rack, Come Rope” being a good historical fiction piece about Elizabethan England and the persecution of Catholics in Britain.

Gene Wolfe is a classic Catholic Science Fiction writer. He’s Very Catholic, if very unorthodox, and he’s very good.

Feels good about Tolkien, doesn’t it? The 3rd best selling work of fiction ever, and certainly best selling fantasy, voted favourite book of Britain (LOTR) about 20 years ago, written by a Catholic.


Actually, Cervantes was a Catholic, and Charles Dickens at least a Christian: that’s the other 2 best sellers :thumbsup:

Hi marina,

I like to read reviews at the good reads website when I’m reading a book.

However, it’s also a good site to use to look up books that you might like to read, too. They do have lots of Catholic and Christian books listed on their site.

Here is a link to their site down below. I just looked up Catholic books on the site when I went there, and then it brought up the different types of books that they have in that section. They also have fiction books included:

Dean koontz has written some very good fiction, I don’t know if he is catholic but the Odd Thomas series is very good.

BTW, the fact that LOTR was voted such a popular work of fiction in Britain was lamented by the academic establishment. They will try to remedy this tragedy in the future, to put forward more politically correct writers, and try to protect the young from this man who was a corrupter of the youth - like that philosopher in Athens. You many find his books harder to locate in the future.

Dickens was certainly very good, maybe “Catholic-compatible” fiction.
C. S. Lewis is often claimed as an Honorary Catholic since his writing is sooooo Catholic compatible. But better to consider him as part of the golden age of *Anglican *fiction, first half of the 20th century. We have so much wealth, lets not poach from our sister communions.
Shakespeare is more and more identified as likely having been Catholic.
Peter Kreeft, a retired Catholic philosopher, has written some fiction, as did the late Ralph McInerney, another philosopher.

Give this one a try, marinadelayne:


Most of my selections have already been mentioned especially the de Wohl books but here are some favorites…

Exiles by Ron Hansen
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Yes! I also love his The End of the Affair.

That said, my favorite is Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop.


As a New Mexican, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t mention “Death Comes for the Archbishop” first!

Ah, good book. Although I personally prefer her book “My Antonia”. I don’t cry reading but that is the only book in which I let a few tears fall. It is beautiful.

I second The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien.

I agree wholeheartedly with what you say about Greene, but that’s the very reason I love Greene.

The Power and the Glory and The Heart of the Matter, along with The End of the Affair, are, in my opinion, the definitive Catholic novels (although Evelyn Waugh’s *Brideshead Revisited *is definitely in the running, and has some of the same morally ambiguous qualities).

And he was absolutely a filmmaker’s delight. The Third Man is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest movies ever made.

At one point the Holy Office put The Power and the Glory on the Index of Forbidden Books. Some twenty years later, Greene had an audience with Pope Paul VI, and the Atlantic Magazine gives this account of their conversation:

In July of 1965 Greene had an audience with Pope Paul VI. He told the Pope that The Power and the Glory had been condemned by the Holy Office. According to Greene, the Pope asked, “Who condemned it?” Greene replied, “Cardinal Pizzardo.” Paul VI repeated the name with a wry smile and added, “Mr. Greene, some parts of your book are certain to offend some Catholics, but you should pay no attention to that.”

Most of what I would say has already been said. I’ll just add that Michael D. O’Brien writes some good Catholic novels. I’ve heard good things about Walker Percy, but never read anything by him.

I’d heard that about Walker Percy too, so I bought one of his books.

Turned out it had the F word in it.

Just letting people know in case they want to get anything of his.

The most obvious books not yet mentioned in this thread are A Canticle for Leibowitz and Morte D’Urban.

The Roger Poynings trilogy by Michael Burt. They are more popular in Argentina due to Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares collection of crime fiction called “El Septimo Circulo”.
The books are:
“The case of the young fast lady”
“The case of the angel’s trumpet”
“The case of the laughing jesuit”

The first one is about a girl who is being followed by satanists who try to kill her. Good depiction of the satanist underground of England. To me it sounded a lot like the England of the sixties though its time frame is a few years before WWII.
The second one is about witches and gnostics. One girl is found dead in the roof of the highest building in town. She falled down. Apparently from a flying broom. The flowers in the garden of Roger Poynings had dissapeared, as well as the trumpets of the angels in the town’s church. The flowers are called “angel trumpet” too. The witches used to make a drug with it. There is a strange girl, the daughter of the reverend, whose cat is called Grey Malkin, the cat was seen near the garden of Poynings. There are also strange plane flights at night, and the visit of Poynings’ uncles, the bishop and the marshall, especially the marshall maybe has something to do with the investigation of those flights.
The third is about Roger Poynings past as a soldier in India. A woman fears she’s gonna be killed by people she and Poynings know from their past in India. The woman appears murdered. Roger Poyinings then proceeds to tell a tale of love and maybe adultery in Kashmir with this woman. He narrates the story of a Jesuit he found in Himalaya, how a tibetan monk predicted this encounter, and that the Jesuit would appear much later in his life sourrounding a death. The death of this woman. Effectively he finds the Jesuit in a church near the place the woman lived and tells he about her fate. A very nice story, very melancholic, much more than the previous “action packed” titles. I liked this book a lot.

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