An enthusiastic review

posted on the Amazon site by a writer whose work I admire, pd mallamo:

GLOWING prose, terrible journey, a beloved brother’s decline and death – an utterly fascinating time capsule/snapshot of late 20th/early 21st century Mormonism. Above all, this is a travel guide into a future both more expectant of genuinely Christian behavior from an institution with the word “Christ” in its title, but less forgiving of cruelty, obvious mistakes and avoidable failures. If the institution is to survive, literally survive, our new age of ubiquitous information access and lightening scientific/technological advance, Church leaders must learn how to differentiate simple biology (a purposeful oxymoron) from moral failing (perhaps another).

The days-gone-by dark skin/light skin false dichotomy is an obvious clue, unfortunately missed. Here we go again.

IMMORTAL is a new primer on a different subject, conservative authoritarianism’s fiery collision with gay liberation.

This is what writers do, dear Brethren, shine uncomfortable light into dark corners, even yours. That’s’ a good thing. Sometimes it’s the only thing.

I read IMMORTAL between Yanagihara’s extraordinary A LITTLE LIFE and one more go through GRAVITY’S RAINBOW. Sui generis, it not only stacks right up but inhabits the same spaces. I was always absorbed, frequently delighted (mom’s shower curtain revelation, for example, something Wes Craven himself couldn’t, or wouldn’t[!] have dreamed). Scott Abbott knows his way around a paragraph, many ring out loud, a sure sign of the artist – ecclesiastically (anywhere) always in short supply, in Mormondom rare, infinitely valuable, holy.

– which, I am aware, makes Scott a saint. Still.

Every day I looked forward to reading this. There’s a very good possibility I will read it again.

 

About Scott Abbott

I received my Ph.D. in German Literature from Princeton University in 1979. Then I taught at Vanderbilt University, BYU, and Utah Valley State College. At Utah Valley University, I directed the Program in Integrated Studies for its initial 13 years and was also Chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy for three years. My publications include a book on Freemasonry and the German Novel, two co-authored books with Zarko Radakovic (REPETITIONS and VAMPIRES & A REASONABLE DICTIONARY, published in Serbo-Croatian in Belgrade and in English with Punctum Books), a book with Sam Rushforth (WILD RIDES AND WILDFLOWERS, Torrey House Press), a "fraternal meditation" called IMMORTAL FOR QUITE SOME TIME (University of Utah Press), and translations of three books by Austrian author Peter Handke, of an exhibition catalogue called "The German Army and Genocide," and, with Dan Fairbanks, of Gregor Mendel's important paper on hybridity in peas. More famously, my children are in the process of creating good lives for themselves: as a model and dance/yoga studio manager, as a teacher of Chinese language, as an ecologist and science writer, as a jazz musician, as a parole officer, as a contractor, as a seasonal worker (Alaska and Park City, Utah), and as parents. I share my life with UVU historian Lyn Bennett, with whom I have written a cultural history of barbed wire -- THE PERFECT FENCE (Texas A&M University Press). Some publications at http://works.bepress.com/scott_abbott/
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