OWL Magazine Korea

William Paul Young’s “Cross Roads”

William P. Young gained global attention in 2007 with his book “The Shack.”

Despite never having written a novel before, the debut work of this author garnered sales of over 10,000 copies through word of mouth alone, touching 20 million readers in 46 countries worldwide thereafter.

As an ordinary working man, the author utilized his commute time to jot down conversations steeped in life experiences. Initially intended for his children to enjoy and feel their father’s love, these notes eventually formed the basis of the novel “The Shack.”

Initially shared as manuscript copies with a few acquaintances, who then spread the word further by copying and sharing, William was urged to publish formally. Although the publishing process wasn’t easy, the book eventually made its way to publication, ranking among the top 100 bestsellers globally, being published in 46 countries worldwide, and surpassing 20 million copies sold. Subsequently, the novel was adapted into a film, released in 88 countries.

“Cross Roads” was published following the success of “The Shack.” Like “The Shack,” it’s written in the form of a novel. Despite being a full-length novel, its length doesn’t pose a significant burden to readers.

The novel draws inspiration from the content of the Bible and could be termed a “Biblical fantasy novel” in simple terms.

Featuring central biblical figures such as Jesus and a protagonist’s son named Gabriel, the novel assumes the possibility of the existence of the soul, exploring an afterlife beyond death and depicting an intermediate realm in the afterlife.

While this content may seem contrary to the lecture “What is Death?” by Professor Shelley Kagan, the novel is a work of fiction, likely resonating with most people who believe in the existence of the soul.

Despite containing Christian perspectives…

The initial Christian worldview presented in the novel made me think it might be a “Christian-related book.” Especially the sudden scene where Jesus says, “I am Jesus,” was a bit bewildering.

However, as the story progressed, rather than sticking to Christian perspectives, the narrative accompanied by imaginative events like soul transfer through kissing made it feel like watching an enjoyable drama.

By skillfully combining Christian elements with the author’s imaginative creativity, the novel strikes a balance between reflecting on the meaning of life while retaining a sense of delight.

Plot Summary

Anthony Spencer, or “Tony,” who has pursued financial and social success all his life, suddenly loses consciousness due to deteriorating health. Fortunately, when he collapses, he is rushed to the emergency room with the help of those around him.

From here, the protagonist, Anthony Spencer, encounters Jesus at the boundary between life and death, in the intermediate realm of the afterlife, discussing life.

At the same time, a boy named “Cabby,” suffering from Down syndrome, accidentally sneaks into the intensive care unit where Anthony Spencer is. Cabby kisses Spencer’s body, and through that, Spencer’s soul infiltrates Cabby’s body. From then on, through the act of “kissing,” Anthony Spencer’s soul moves into the bodies of various people.

Through the eyes and feelings of others, the protagonist, Anthony Spencer, reflects on life, realizing what constitutes a desirable life.

“What is the right way to live?”

Life is given to everyone only once. The word “YOLO” also emerged here. “You Only Live Once,” meaning you only live once.

Having obtained this noble life that is lived only once, there is a need to ponder what constitutes a good way of living. Whether simply earning a lot of money and holding a high social status constitutes a good life, or whether meaning can be found in other aspects, is a question to contemplate.

Fundamentally, humans instinctively pursue “happiness.” It is true that material things like “money” to some extent influence happiness. However, once a certain level is surpassed, money no longer contributes to happiness.

This is well illustrated by the paradox of German scholar Richard Easterlin. Research shows that once a certain income level is guaranteed, the influence of money on happiness diminishes significantly.

Ultimately, simply acquiring money is not a sufficient condition for becoming happy. Beyond earning money, finding elements that can bring one closer to “happiness” may be important in life.

“Cross Roads” takes the form of a novel, but ultimately prompts us to reconsider what is important in life and what constitutes a good life.

“Cross Roads”

  • Author: William Paul Young
  • Publication Date: February 23, 2013
  • ISBN13: 9788933830529
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/9ACVMv543