Novelist James L. Rubart and his latest book, The Man He Never Was, feature in the new issue of Lorehaven magazine. Subscribe and download your free copy here. Then, join fellow Christian fantasy fans in Lorehaven Book Clubs (starting online) to read through Rubart’s novel this month!
Why another story about the light and dark halves of ourselves?
Since Robert Louis Stevenson penned The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the late 1800s, there have been 120 stage and film versions alone, not to mention all the novels and short stories using the trope.
Why did I think I had anything to add?
For a number of reasons, I suppose.
First, I didn’t think I had anything to add. I didn’t find the story, the story found me. I heard Tim Keller talk about how Stevenson was likely inspired by Romans 7 for his classic tale, and I was fascinated.
In Stevenson’s story, Hyde wins in the end. With Christ, we win.
That fascination increased when Keller said, in effect, “With Christ we go from a civil war we can’t win, to a battle we cannot lose.” I wanted to know how to win more often. Not in the future. Now. Not in theory. In practice. Every day.
Second, I was struggling with how to love. Truly love. Not love the people that loved me, but the people who didn’t. How to love a relative I couldn’t avoid that is cruel and cutting and hurts people around me that I care deeply about.
How can I love without being provoked? (See parentheses above.) How can I love without holding any record of wrong? Are you kidding? They’ll know we’re Christians by the way we love each other? Sure, in what fantasy world? But I wanted to know Christ’s kind of love, so I was wrestling with the question.
Third, I’d been reading Ted Dekker’s book, The Forgotten Way, and having long talks with Ted about his book and what he’d discovered on his journey about how to truly love.
And I realized that whereas in Stevenson’s story, Hyde wins in the end. With Christ, we win.
I wanted to write that story. I wanted to write about how I’d started to embrace the way of love like I’d never done before.
I can’t tell you how we win. That’s the Christian twist I put on the tale. But suffice it to say, my own life has been changed by writing this novel.
It’s my story, it’s your story, it’s the story of anyone who hates the dark half of themselves and wants to be free of that half.
You can be free, dear sister and brother. I promise, you can be free.
“Rubart is careful to construct vivid settings and emotions, and builds in some unforeseen final twists.”
— Lorehaven Magazine
The Man He Never Was released in February 2018.
Explore the book at the Lorehaven Library.
Read our full review exclusively in the spring 2018 issue of Lorehaven Magazine!