Godforsaken Idaho by Shawn Vestal

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 wonderful debut, Shawn Vestal transports us to the afterlife, the rugged Northwest, and the early days of Mormonism. From “The First a number of Hundred Years Following My Death,” an absurd, profound imaginative and prescient of a hellish heaven, to "Winter Elders," within which missionaries flippantly 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 no longer but the founding father of a faith yet a guy employed to discover buried treasure. Godforsaken Idaho is an indelible assortment by means of the author you must learn subsequent.

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Sample text

You’re nothing but a piece of clay,” she said bitterly to Dad. Mom was speaking very softly but we all heard her . . he too. “You’re a good-for-nothing goofy nincompoop unfit even to be shot by a good cannon. ” Mom kept scolding Dad and us. Dad didn’t say anything; he knew that if he said something they might end fighting with the wooden poker. ” When Mom finished scolding she got up from the bench, made a step toward the stove, and snatched the bag. Giving Dad a look that almost made him stagger, she slammed the door and left.

I was afraid Mom might take a peek inside where she had surprised me already with a book in my hands. I got out through a hole on the side, crawled on the ground, until I reached the threshing floor. Then I be­ gan to run. I ran along field boundaries, then turned onto the street. The dark night made my fears grow and grow. I walked and walked, not knowing where to stop. Lukashka! W hy not go to him? I thought. Lukashka always slept in his master’s barn. “This is my The Two Kinds of Truth 39 nest/’ he’d tell me.

There’re two, you know. One’s poor, carries a bag; the other’s rich, has a trunk. ” I thought of the flour and the beating mother gave me. “You’re so right,” I said sadly. ” “Uh, don’t worry,” Lukashka mutered. He might have been talking to me or to himself. He woke me up early next morning. “Go on home now, Vasya,” he told me. ” I went toward home but then stopped behind the corner of our 40 T r e a su r y of R u ss ia n S ho rt S tories cottage to watch; mother was driving the sheep out to pasture —her face was smeared, tearful.

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