The End of the Straight and Narrow: Stories

The End of the Straight and Narrow: Stories

by David McGlynn
     
 

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This debut collection received critical acclaim and is now available for the first time in trade paper. The stories in The End of the Straight and Narrow take on the inner lives of the zealous, their passions and desires, and the ways religious faith is both the compass for navigating daily life and the force that makes ordinary life impossible.

In &ldquo

Overview


This debut collection received critical acclaim and is now available for the first time in trade paper. The stories in The End of the Straight and Narrow take on the inner lives of the zealous, their passions and desires, and the ways religious faith is both the compass for navigating daily life and the force that makes ordinary life impossible.

In “Landslide,” an aspiring evangelist witnesses the miraculous event that launches his career, but fails to notice the mental decline of his college roommate. In “Moonland on Fire,” a divorced, born-again father, his new wife, and his estranged teenage son battle to save their dilapidated home from a massive fire. In “Deep in the Heart” a dying boy reveals his final wish to his estranged parents: he wants to kill a deer. In “Seventeen One-Hundredths of a Second” an aging virgin is drawn into a precarious friendship. The five linked stories that comprise the collection’s latter half focus on a woman blinded suddenly while giving birth, who years later begins a process of disappearing that confuses her family and leads to ultimately violent and disintegrating ends.

Ranging from the coastal highways of Southern California, to the mountains above Salt Lake City, to the swampy bayous and pine forests surrounding Houston, Texas, the stories often take place against the backdrop of disaster—a landslide, a fire, a drowning, a hurricane—as the characters question whether faith illuminates the world or leaves them isolated within it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

McGlynn's superlatively crafted, deeply sympathetic debut story collection traces the spiritual agonies of Christians trying to make sense of their faith within the vicissitudes of human nature. "Landslide" takes place in Southern California, concerning two best friends in a Christian college who follow divergent paths, who both seem involved in a deadly highway landslide they witness together. In "Moonland on Fire," a divorced father of three struggles to keep the peace between his visiting teenaged son and his evangelical girlfriend amid encroaching L.A. wildfires. The last five stories move the action to Houston, Tex., and come together like five facets of one novella, centered around a 15-year-old, Rowdy Jarrett, harboring crushing guilt over his mother, Cordelia, who went blind while giving birth to him and whose health is now deteriorating. As each successive story shifts points of view among the family members, their multipronged predicament moves into more well-defined but perilous territory, amounting to an affecting family parable. (Nov.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619021501
Publisher:
Counterpoint Press
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

Lee Martin

Wonderfully controlled stories of the well-intentioned and the flawed, those precarious souls who attempt to live a moral life in an often immoral universe. McGlynn's collection is not just entertaining and memorable, but necessary. (Lee Martin, author of The Bright Forever)

Lee K. Abbott

A collection as humbling as it is meet. I am impressed by his 'believers' whom he refuses to trivialize, categorize, or marginalize. I haven't the words to say what a wallop McGlynn laid upside my head. (Lee K. Abbott, author of All Things, All at Once)

Alyson Hagy

A good book gets under your skin. A great book moves you toward wisdom. The End of the Straight and Narrow is the wisest book I've read in a very long time. This is smart, sharp, soul-testing American fiction. (Alyson Hagy, author of Snow, Ashes)

Meet the Author


DAVID McGLYNN was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Houston, Texas, and Orange County, California. He received his M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Utah, where he also served as managing editor of Western Humanities Review. His fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, Mid-American Review, Shenandoah, and other literary journals. He teaches at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife and two sons. A lifelong distance swimmer, he has competed in open-water races all across the country, and is the first one in the pool each morning.

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