Wm says: Ben Christensen was kind enough to submit this review, which takes a look at another entry in the interesting sub-genre of “Mormon literature that is also gay literature.” And what’s really interesting is that he does so by comparing it to John Bennion’s novel Falling Toward Heaven, which is about sexuality, but that of the hetero- variety.
Ben Christensen used to blog at the Fobcave. Now he lurks on other people’s blogs. And submits the occasional guest post, apparently.
Title: The Abominable Gayman Author: Johnny Townsend
Reviewed by Ben Christensen
Note: Ben received a free review copy of this book from the author.
“I used to think,” says Elder Anderson, the narrator and protagonist of The Abominable Gayman, “that the goal of perfection meant we all had to become the same, but here in Italy, I’d seen new flowers, tasted different foods, spoken a different language, and I realized that the best, most perfect rose could never inspire the exact same feelings as a perfect hedge of five-pointed star jasmine.” Elder Anderson, you see, is a gay Mormon serving a mission in Rome, and is only starting to consider the possibility that perhaps becoming straight is not a necessary step on his path to perfection. In the process of figuring out where this collection of short stories fits in gay Mormon literature—whether nearer Jonathan Langford’s No Going Back or Tony Kushner’s Angels in America—I realized it doesn’t necessarily fit among other gay Mormon-themed literature. But it is definitely Mormon literature. The most appropriate comparison, I believe, is to John Bennion’s Falling Toward Heaven. Both Falling and Gayman tell the story of a young man who, by normal Mormon standards, is doing everything wrong, yet somehow finds himself stumbling into a better understanding of himself and a closer relationship with God. more →
If you know anything about Angela Hallstrom, you should know that she is a person of taste and a keen parser of literariness.
And if you followed my Twitter reviews of her new short story collection (archived here–scroll up for the key), then you know that I did not feel equally positive about every story she collected. In fact, some I didn’t really care for at all. But not liking a story in a collection–or even several stories–is a far cry from disliking a collection.
This is the third and final entry in this series. The first part of our interview was about Ms Hallstom’s novel-in-stories Bound on Earth. The second was about her editorship of the literary journal Irreantum. This third portion is about the short-story collection, Dispensation: Latter-day Fiction, that she edited for Zarahemla Books (review).
. Let’s start with what criteria a story had to meet to even be considered for inclusion. What were the ground rules going in to this anthology? more →
I recently prepared a Christmas package for my missionary son and hit upon the idea of searching past Ensign magazines for missionary Christmas stories to add to the package. I’m not sure if these stories are typical of other missionary Christmas stories, but I can say that the stories I found included two broad themes: stories of missionaries caroling (or giving other musical performances) and stories of missionaries overcoming loneliness. [I do believe there are other themes in these stories, I just didn't come across them in my very limited search.] more →