By John Wilson
Calvin College’s every-other-year Festival of Faith & Writing—the 2012 edition began last Thursday and ended Saturday night—is a carnival of disparate voices, a time out of time from which one returns to everyday routines, re-charged. A conference that features, on its first day, a plenary address by Jonathan Safran Foer and concludes with a plenary address by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a model of the ungraspable multifaceted Real we inhabit. Like all models, it is highly selective, stylized. (Lots of voices, we can be grateful—hectoring, insidious, terminally narcissistic—simply are not represented here.) But even so, this tiny simulacrum mimics the effects of the whole.