Benediction, a Book of Stories

Neal Chandler, Author University of Utah Press $14.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-87480-329-7
The 15 loosely connected stories in this collection draw on experiences of contemporary members of the Mormon church. The many-sided, amusing title story, about competing Gospel Doctrine teachers, takes us deep into the complex political, emotional and personality-driven terrain of evangelical fervor. With muted humor and unconditional acceptance, the author presents convincing portraits of people grappling with spiritual worthiness: the strangely frustrated husband (``Roger Across the Looking Glass'') who is deeply offended by his enigmatic wife, ``yet with no object for his anger but an absence.'' There are many passengers on the train to glory, some backsliding, others catching up, all vying with the call of the mission culture and against the larger world. In eschewing minimalism and pervasive anomie in favor of clear, nicely detailed prose and straightforward narrative style, Nash has produced creditable portraits of people who are outside the mainstream but also recognizably human. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1989
Release date: 10/01/1989
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