There has been a lot trickling around recently about Dean Koontz, the best selling novelist, and his Catholicism. Posts come up on message boards or Facebook asking about Koontz, and his purported Catholicism, and the obligatory curiosity of “how good a Catholic is he” (in the vein of “can we expect him to show up on The World Over or speak at March for Life or something?”)
One of the reasons for this is that, apparently, his more recent books have some overtly Catholic themes.
Well, a brief Google search this evening turned up two interesting hits.
One is a very fascinating 2007 interview with Koontz by Tim Drake at National Catholic Register where Koontz could be paraphrasing Flannery O’Connor with his views on Catholic fiction, including his emphasis on maintaining his own privacy and distance from the public so that the public doesn’t confuse artist with work.
(Interesting note: both Koontz and I have been interviewed by Tim Drake at the _Register_!)
A particularly moving passage:
I grew up in Bedford, Pa. My dad was a very difficult man. He drank heavily and chased women. He was a gambler, and violent. He held 44 jobs in 24 years and was sometimes fired because he punched out a boss. We never knew if we would be able to keep a roof over our heads. I used his behavior as a guide: Each time I was in a quandary about a decision with moral implications, I did exactly the opposite from what I believed he would have done in the same situation.
My mother was far different from my father — a good, honest, very dear person with a lot of health problems. Considering the hell he put her through, I don’t know why she stayed with him. Sometimes at 2 a.m., we got calls from barrooms where my father was unconscious on the floor. So we walked two or three miles to load him in his car and bring him home.
My mother gave me shelter in the midst of poverty and violence. Without her inner strength, my father would have done great harm to her and me.
My cousin told me that once my mother, having found 20 cents in a pay phone return slot, agonized for a couple of days before deciding what to do with it. She put it in the church collection plate.
He goes on to discuss his conversion and his admiration for Chesterton.
A fairly recent interview posted on Catholic Exchange, points out that Koontz’s books are not only filled with Catholic themes about good and evil, but are explicitly pro-life:
CC: Dean, in your books like Brother Odd and One Door Away from Heaven, you talk about the dignity of special needs children and you talk about modern bioethics. How and why did these life issues become so important to you?
Dean Koontz: My wife and I have long worked with a charity for people with disabilities – Canine Companions for Independence. They train service dogs for all kinds of people with disabilities. People who are paraplegic or quadriplegic, with one of these dogs, can live on their own when they couldn’t before. They have great effect on autistic children. Working with that and being a part of that, I saw that a lot of these people were shunted aside. There’s a lot of people who think they shouldn’t be given medical care. People like Peter Singer think a disabled child should be allowed to die or should not be given antibiotics because they have nothing to contribute to the world. [Singer’s] an idiot. If you bring these [disabled] people into your life, I’ve discovered – I’ve never found one who whined or complained like average people do. I’ve never found one who wasn’t grateful for every good thing that comes their way. And I haven’t found one that wasn’t an inspiration to people. If you can inspire other people by your own courage and your own stoicism, you’ve had a very valuable and important life. So they bring a great deal to the world… I’ve featured Down Syndrome kids in books at times and I’ve gotten literally thousands of letters from people who have Down’s children. Every single one of them says, “This was the best thing that happened to me.” They’re not pretending; they’re not trying to make the best of a bad situation. They’re saying it really was a tremendous benefit to their lives. That’s why I wish people would stop thinking that you have to be the perfect physical specimen in order to be worth living. That is far from the truth.
I like this guy!!!