Nine stories illuminate what it means to be Mormon and how faith serves to humanize, in a work that includes a seriocomic portrait of a young Joseph Smith.
Nine stories illuminate what it means to be Mormon and how faith serves to humanize, in a work that includes a seriocomic portrait of a young Joseph Smith.
From the winner of 2014’s PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize, an unforgettable debut novel about Loretta, a teenager married off as a “sister wife,” who makes a break for freedom At the heart of this exciting debut novel, set in Arizona and Idaho in the mid-1970s, is fifteen-year-old Loretta, who slips out of her bedroom every evening to meet her so-called gentile boyfriend. Her strict Mormon parents catch her returning one night, and promptly marry her off to Dean Harder, a devout yet materialistic fundamentalist who already has a wife and a brood of kids. The Harders relocate to his native Idaho, where Dean’s teenage nephew Jason falls hard for Loretta. A Zeppelin and Tolkien fan, Jason worships Evel Knievel and longs to leave his close-minded community. He and Loretta make a break for it. They drive all night, stay in hotels, and relish their dizzying burst of teenage freedom as they seek to recover Dean’s cache of “Mormon gold.” But someone Loretta left behind is on their trail... A riveting story of desire and escape, Daredevils boasts memorable set pieces and a rich cast of secondary characters. There’s Dean’s other wife, Ruth, who as a child in the 1950s was separated from her parents during the notorious Short Creek raid, when federal agents descended on a Mormon fundamentalist community. There’s Jason’s best friend, Boyd, part Native American and caught up in the activist spirit of the time, who comes along for the ride, with disastrous results. And Vestal’s ultimate creation is a superbly sleazy chatterbox—a man who might or might not be Evel Knievel himself—who works his charms on Loretta at a casino in Elko, Nevada. A lifelong journalist whose Spokesman column is a fixture in Spokane, WA, Shawn has honed his fiction over many years, publishing in journals like McSweeney's and Tin House. His stunning first collection, Godforsaken Idaho, burrowed into history as it engaged with masculinity and crime, faith and apostasy, and the West that he knows so well. Daredevils shows what he can do on a broader canvas--a fascinating, wide-angle portrait of a time and place that's both a classic coming of age tale and a plunge into the myths of America, sacred and profane.
InI’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking the strange and the mundane collide. These are stories of strange experiences set in familiar places, and of familiar experiences set in strange places. Many of the pieces inI’m Fine take place close to home, in suburban neighborhoods, or rural communities. The settings are conventional, yet something unexpected, or even magical, is occurring. In one piece, a couple speculates about random objects that appear without reason in their backyard. In another, neighbors try to figure out if a local meth dealer is keeping a live tiger captive on his property. In other pieces, it’s the setting that’s fantastical, but the characters’ reactions that remain ordinary, like in the titular story where a journalist lost at sea and hunted by a mythical ocean creature admits to struggling with loneliness and isolation in much the same way he does even when he’s safe at home. Although they are not directly linked by any specific character, the pieces in this collection are bound through reoccurring imagery and a shared theme of protagonists in emotional peril. There are unexpected appearances and disappearances, movement of inanimate objects, the search for something lost, the finding of something unusual. There are prophesies, dreams, unidentifiable creatures, and environmental catastrophes on a scale both large and small. There are action figures and octopuses,sullen teenagers and missing cats. At their core, these stories are imbued with mystery, oddity, humor, and empathy. They each stand on their own, but mean considerably more when read together.
A sleek, fast-paced story of high school boys in Tacoma, their anointed leader and the decision to find a way out. The new novel from Eric Barnes, author of IndieNext selection SHIMMER.
The intrigue of The Raven Boys and the "supernatural or not" question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime. Every story needs a hero. Every story needs a villain. Every story needs a secret. Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous. What really happened? Someone knows. Someone is lying. For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Virgin Suicides, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.
When the present offers no hope for the future, the answers may lie in the past AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much. Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them? A fast-paced mystery novel by one of the country's finest writers, and a UKLA Book Awards 2016 shortlisted title, THE DOOR THAT LED TO WHERE will delight, surprise and mesmerise all those who read it.
Random Family tells the American outlaw saga lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. With an immediacy made possible only after ten years of reporting, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses the reader in the mind-boggling intricacies of the little-known ghetto world. She charts the tumultuous cycle of the generations, as girls become mothers, mothers become grandmothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation. Two romances thread through Random Family: the sexually charismatic nineteen-year-old Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and fourteen-year-old Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar, an aspiring thug. Fleeing from family problems, the young couples try to outrun their destinies. Chauffeurs whisk them to getaways in the Poconos and to nightclubs. They cruise the streets in Lamborghinis and customized James Bond cars. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between life and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George's business activities; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty. Together, then apart, the teenagers make family where they find it. Girls look for excitement and find trouble; boys, searching for adventure, join crews and prison gangs. Coco moves upstate to dodge the hazards of the Bronx; Jessica seeks solace in romance. Both find that love is the only place to go. A gifted prose stylist and a profoundly compassionate observer, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc has slipped behind the cold statistics and sensationalism surrounding inner-city life and come back with a riveting, haunting, and true urban soap opera that reveals the clenched grip of the streets. Random Family is a compulsive read and an important journalistic achievement, sure to take its place beside the classics of the genre.
A richly textured, diverse collection of stories that illuminate the heartland and America itself, exploring questions of history, race, and identity. Grounded in place, spanning the Civil War to the present day, the stories in I Was a Revolutionary capture the roil of history through the eyes of an unforgettable cast of characters: the visionaries and dreamers, radical farmers and socialist journalists, quack doctors and protestors who haunt the past and present landscape of the state of Kansas. In these stories—which have appeared in Zoetrope All-Story, The Best New American Voices, FiveChapters, Story, American Short Fiction, and Ninth Letter—the award-winning writer Andrew Malan Milward crafts an epic mosaic of the American experience, tracing how we live amid the inconvenient ghosts of history. “The Burning of Lawrence” vibrates with the raw terror of a town pillaged by pro-Confederate raiders. “O Death” recalls the desperately hard journey of the Exodusters—African-American migrants who came to Kansas to escape oppression in the South. And, in the collection’s haunting title piece, a professor of Kansas history surveys his decades-long slide from radicalism to complacency, a shift that parallels the landscape around him. Using his own home state as a prism through which to view both a nation’s history and our own universal battles as individuals, Milward has created one of the freshest and most complex story collections in recent years.
Not all journeys come to an end.... 1867. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho. Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence, the preacher’s wife, and the tomboyish, teasing Sadie. But as these new friendships lead to betrayal, what started as a quest for a brighter future ends with Ruth making unthinkable sacrifices, risking faith and family, and transforming into a woman she never imagined she’d become….
A career-spanning collection of critical essays and cultural journalism from one of the most acute, entertaining, and sometimes acerbic (but in a good way) critics of our time From his early-seventies dispatches as a fledgling critic for The Village Voice on rock ’n’ roll, comedy, movies, and television to the literary criticism of the eighties and nineties that made him both feared and famous to his must-read reports on the cultural weather for Vanity Fair, James Wolcott has had a career as a freelance critic and a literary intellectual nearly unique in our time. This collection features the best of Wolcott in whatever guise—connoisseur, intrepid reporter, memoirist, and necessary naysayer—he has chosen to take on. Included in this collection is “O.K. Corral Revisited,” a fresh take on the famed Norman Mailer–Gore Vidal dustup on The Dick Cavett Show that launched Wolcott from his Maryland college to New York City (via bus) to begin his brilliant career. His prescient review of Patti Smith’s legendary first gig at CBGB leads off a suite of eyewitness and insider accounts of the rise of punk rock, while another set of pieces considers the vast cultural influence of the enigmatic Johnny Carson and the scramble of his late-night successors to inherit the “swivel throne.” There are warm tributes to such diverse figures as Michael Mann, Sam Peckinpah, Lester Bangs, and Philip Larkin and masterly summings-up of the departed giants of American literature—John Updike, William Styron, John Cheever, and Mailer and Vidal. Included as well are some legendary takedowns that have entered into the literary lore of our time. Critical Mass is a treasure trove of sparkling, spiky prose and a fascinating portrait of our lives and cultural times over the past decades. In an age where a great deal of back scratching and softball pitching pass for criticism, James Wolcott’s fearless essays and reviews offer a bracing taste of the real critical thing.
A true story of obsessive love turning to obsessive hate, Give Me Everything You Have chronicles the author’s strange and harrowing ordeal at the hands of a former student, a self-styled ‘verbal terrorist’, who began trying, in her words, to ‘ruin him’. Hate-mail – much of it violently anti-Semitic – online postings and public accusations of theft and sexual misconduct, have been her weapons of choice, and, as with more conventional terrorist weapons, have proved remarkably difficult to combat. James Lasdun’s account, while terrifying, is told with compassion and humour, and brilliantly succeeds in turning a highly personal story into a profound meditation on subjects as varied as madness, race, Middle-Eastern politics, and the meaning of honour and reputation in the internet age.
Our Town is the debut of a striking literary voice, one that captures the disillusion at the fringes of Hollywood as seen through a haze of drugs, alcohol, abuse, and fallen aspirations. An unseen narrator guides us through the dark fairy tale of Dorothy White, an aspiring actress who “never quite figured how to get out of her own way.” Her perfect marriage to an equally golden actor, Dale, quickly turns into one of jealousy and violence. Dorothy ends the marriage yet begins a legacy of self-destruction for the failed couple, as well as their two children, Clover and Dylan. But we see the pathos in Dorothy’s attempts to get back on track, to be a good woman, mother, and grandmother. Throughout the novel, she is left in the wake of decisions that turn disastrous. Her downward spiral from elusive fame into consistent infamy—a series of DUIs, the continuing neglect of her children, a string of failed and unhealthy relationships—is not without its grace, with the warmth of her character shining through her spackled makeup and cloud of acrid perfume. In many ways, Dorothy White is an anti-heroine for the ages—“vanilla voiced,” bewigged, loving, and ever radiant —a sympathetic character caught in the riptide of her transformation from small-town southern girl to one-time toast of Hollywood to embarrassing tabloid fodder. Our Town is an original and startling debut novel, one whose fresh voice and expert perspective reinvents the Hollywood story for a new generation of readers.
Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us. In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist? These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God. In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise. Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear. "As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all." -Publishers Weekly
In 1944, the U.S. Marines were building the 5th Marine Division—also known as “The Spearhead”—in preparation for the invasion of the small, Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima…. When Charlie Tatum entered Camp Pendleton to begin Marine boot camp, he was just a smart-aleck teenager eager to serve his country. Little did he know that he would be training under the watchful eyes of a living legend of the Corps—Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone, who had almost-single-handedly fought off a Japanese force of three-thousand on Guadalcanal, and survived. It was from Basilone and other "Old Breed" sergeants that Tatum would learn how to fight like a Marine and act like a man, as he went through the hell of boot camp to the raucous port of Pearl Harbor with its gambling, gals, and tattoos, to the island of death itself, where he hit the black sand of Iwo Jima with thirty thousand other Marines in the climactic battle of the Pacific Theater. It was on that godforsaken strip of land that Tatum and Basilone would meet again under a hellish rain of bullets and bombs—and where Tatum would make his own mark, carrying ammo for the machine gun carried by Basilone. Together they would lead the breakout off the beach, driving through and destroying a swath of enemy soldiers in the first man-to-man combat on Iwo Jima. Red Blood, Black Sand is the story of Chuck’s two weeks in hell, where he would watch his hero, Basilone, fall, where the enemy stalked the night, where snipers haunted the day, and where Chuck would see his friends whittled away in an eardrum-shattering, earth-shaking, meat grinder of a battle. Before the end, Chuck would find himself, like Basilone, standing alone, blind with rage, firing a machine gun from the hip, in a personal battle to kill a relentless foe he had come to hate. This is the island, the heroes, and the tragedy of Iwo Jima, through the eyes of the battle’s greatest living storyteller, Chuck Tatum.