The End of the Straight and Narrow
Counterpoint Press, 2013 (Paperback) : Purchase
The End of the Straight and Narrow takes 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 “Butterfly” an aging virgin is drawn into a precarious friendship with a violent boy and a seductive relationship with the widow of his oldest friend. 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.