By Shawn Vestal

Shortlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize
Shortlisted for the William Saroyan overseas Prize for Writing
Named “Outstanding 2013 Collection” through the tale Prize
Pushcart Prize Winner

In this attractive debut, Shawn Vestal transports us to the afterlife, the rugged Northwest, and the early days of Mormonism. From “The First numerous Hundred Years Following My Death,” an absurd, profound imaginative and prescient of a hellish heaven, to "Winter Elders," during which missionaries frivolously and relentlessly pursue a guy who has left the fold, those 9 tales light up the articles of religion that make us human.

The concluding triptych tackles the legends and legacy of Mormonism head-on, culminating in "Diviner," a seriocomic portrait of the younger Joseph Smith, again while he used to be now not but the founding father of a faith yet a guy employed to discover buried treasure. Godforsaken Idaho is an indelible assortment by way of the author you want to learn subsequent.

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Love them and leave them. ' He paused, waiting for some kind of response. When Jennie said nothing, he shrugged. 'Well, I don't think you're like that. Then there's the other kind. Full of plans for social reform. Women's equality, equal opportunity. I'm all for it, even help where I can. It's the humourlessness for the approach which is so stultifying. Though inevitable, I suppose. I haven't met too many social campaigners of either sex who are particularly endowed with wit. Still, when the earnestness intrudes into everyday relations, I groan.

Her mind was a jumble of irrational fears which fused into only one clear thought: how would she rid herself of Derek once they had reached her flat? His arrogance seemed to be such that a straightforward no made no impact whatever, and she couldn't, just couldn't chance the possibility of that all over again. She felt dizzy with the pressure of it. A hand on her shoulder made her flinch. 'Let's stop a minute, Jennie,' Derek said, making her turn towards him. They were on the Embankment and he guided her towards the river's edge.

Her flat was just over the river. As always, she approached it with a slight anxiety. She brought her bicycle into the hall, looked around quickly, but no, there was no dark figure looming. She breathed her relief, locked the bicycle securely and went up the two flights of stairs to her flat. ' She heard the sound of slow shuffling footsteps and waited. The door opened on the latch and a pair of bright blue eyes peered out of a lined face. ' Jennie nodded and watched Mrs Owen's trembling fingers rise to the latch and open it clumsily.

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Godforsaken Idaho by Shawn Vestal


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