Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Frances Fuller, Author Of Book About Lebanon, 'In Borrowed Houses', Issues Challenge To Christian Century Magazine

Frances Fuller's award-winning memoir, 'In Borrowed Houses', gives readers a penetrating glimpse of the Middle East from the inside. She puts a face on the Middle East many Americans have not yet seen. Fuller believes a recent article in the magazine is troubling, in that it may portray human rights abuse as 'normal'

Frances Fuller, author of the award winning memoir 'In Borrowed Houses' has challenged the Christian Century to find a scholar rooted in the ethics of Jesus, one who will give readers the human face of the Middle East when writing for the publication.

Her remarks came in response to an article entitled, “A Violent Sorting Out,” an interview with Joshua Landis by Richard A. Kauffman in the May 13 issue.  Fuller called the article “troubling,” saying that its worldview “resembled a game board on which men, women and children are merely colored marbles” while talking about the abuse of minority groups.

“Though the article has its value in helping us understand what is happening in the Middle East, it does not help us to think like Christians. It surprises me that Landis uses the greatest human tragedies of the past century, created by overt and inhumane injustices, as evidence that this sorting out is a normal process, experienced in many places. In a Christian magazine I would expect some acknowledgment that this process (making life easier for a dominant group) has involved massacres, expulsions of indigenous populations, illegal appropriation of property, subjugation of whole people groups and the destruction of Christianity in the place where it was born.” 

She expresses surprise that a Christian magazine would present without any mention of ethical or humane issues Landis’ prediction that such atrocities will continue. “Nor does he attempt to make us face our own guilt for ways that we participated in, supported and even provoked some of these injustices.”

Fuller lived for thirty years in Jordan and Lebanon, experiencing from a civilian point of view a great many wars that are part of the ongoing “sorting out” that Landis analyses for the Century. For 24 of those years she was director of a Christian publishing house, creating Christian literature in the Arabic language.

“I know,” she told the Century, “that not all your readers care in the same ways that I care, but surely most of them share this with me, that they have children and grandchildren who will inherit the world we are creating. And most of your readers must be Christians. Christians do care, or at least know that they are supposed to care.”

Told in short episodes, 'In Borrowed Houses' reveals the alienation, confusion and courage of civilians in the Lebanese civil war, introducing to the reader a variety of real people with whom the author interacts: editors, salesmen, neighbors, refugees, soldiers, missionaries, lawyers, shepherds, artists, students. With these people she works, studies, plays games, prays, laughs and cries, all to the accompaniment of gunfire. Together these small stories tell what war is like for civilians caught on a battlefield, and they create the impression of the Lebanese as a fun-loving, witty, patient and resilient people. They also compose, not a political history, but a historical document of a time and a place.

Critics have praised  ‘In Borrowed Houses.’ A judge in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards called 'In Borrowed Houses' “…a well written book full of compassion…a captivating story…”. Another reviewer described the book as “Wise, honest, sensitive, funny, heart-wrenching…”. Colin Chapman, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut said, “….western Christians and Middle Eastern Christians need to read this story…full of remarkable perceptiveness and genuine hope.”

Frances Fuller is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at Fuller's book is available at Amazon and other book retailers. A free ebook sample from 'In Borrowed Houses' is available at More information is available at her website at

About Frances Fuller:

Frances Fuller spent thirty years in the violent Middle East and for twenty-four of those years was the director of a Christian publishing program with offices in Lebanon. While leading the development of spiritual books in the Arabic language, she survived long years of civil war and invasions.


Frances Fuller