Peter Mountford’s A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism (see my GoodReads review ) has its problems, but the premise is not one of them: a bilingual but Americanized Chilean is hired by a venture capital fund to gather intelligence in Bolivia by posing as a journalist around the time of the 2005 presidential election. The execution isn’t there, but it’s a fantastic way to deal with issues of capitalism, politics, identity, language, third world tourism, expatriate-ism, etc.
So my question is: are there any stories out there that do the same (or a similar) thing with Mormon missionaries? I can’t think of any, but my reading in the field is by no means encyclopedic.
If there aren’t any, there should be. What a fascinating way of digging in to several of the key issues of our current day. And it’s got to be a fairly common thing. I know of several Mormons who have served non-stateside and have gone to back to their field of service to do charity work, or go to school, or start a business or career, or as a consultant or foreign service attache or tourist, etc. And the RM-who-returns is the perfect vector through which to tell stories: insider but also outsider in both his/her own nation and the one he/she travels to. The studying abroad or teaching English abroad narrative is a total cliche. And the missionary in the mission field is a bit of one now in Mormon literature. But RM who goes back? As far as I know, that’s open territory. Somebody should jump on that.