The Backslider

ISBN 10: 1560852186 / ISBN 13: 9781560852186
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Synopsis:  Recognized as a Mormon classic twenty years after its release,The Backslider features longstanding Christian conflicts played out in a scenic, sparsely populated area of southern Utah. A young ranch-hand, Frank Windham, conceives of God as an implacable enemy of human appetite. He is a dedicated sinner until family tragedy catapults him into an arcane form of penitence preached among frontier Mormons. He is saved by an epiphany that has proved controversial among readers, either interpreting it as an extreme impiety or celebrating it as a moving and entirely plausible rendering of a biblical theme in a Western setting.

Frank comes into contact with a host of rural and urban characters. Of central importance is his Lutheran girlfriend, Marianne, whom Frank seduces, begrudgingly marries, and eventually loves. Frank’s extended family is just a generation removed from polygamy and still energized by old-time grudges and deprivations. Along the way Frank encounters a closeted secular humanist, a polygamist prophet, a psychiatrist, a Mason, government employees, college professors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs—all drawn with heightened realism reminiscent of Charles Dickens or the grotesque forms of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor.

The story engages readers as it alternates almost imperceptibly between Frank’s naïve consciousness and the more informed awareness of its narrator. It can be read as a love story, a satiric comedy, or a dark and sobering study of self-mutilation. Shifting from one to another, it builds suspense and elicits
complex emotions, among them a profound sense of compassion. More joyous than cynical, it sympathizes deeply with the plight of all of God’s backsliders.

From the Inside Flap:  From the jacket flap
Even before he began to write, Levi S. Peterson “knew that Mormons would be my subject matter. I was an instinctive realist. I wanted to write about people as they really are, and Mormons were the only people I knew from inside out. Moreover, the conflicts I wanted to write about were between belief and disbelief and between sexual impulse and conscience. I found those conflicts in myself, and I detected them among people I knew. So it wasn’t hard to attribute them to fictional Mormons.”

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Title: The Backslider
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ISBN 10: 1560852186 ISBN 13: 9781560852186
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Book Description Signature Books 2013-02-15, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. First Edition, Fifth. 1560852186 Some wear. Slight corner damage. Bookseller Inventory # 17-02-12-LBRY-21926-MJ

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Book Description Signature Books 0, Salt Lake City, UT. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1560852186 Brand new softcover book! Never been read! ; Frank Windham is just a Mormon cowboy?hard-working, trying to be honest, convinced he is going to hell for incurable lust, and convinced that he deserves to. He has an ultra-pious mother, a brother who is more than just a little touched in the head, and a comfortable Lutheran girl friend who knows she has been saved. This is a novel about sin and salvation, written with raunchiness and reverence. It is also an extraordinary landmark in Mormon fiction?the first to consider the tension between guilt and sexual frustration.Set against the backdrop of southern Utah's canyon country, the novel's protagonist manifests exuberance and innocence constrained only by strict moral education. The sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic posturing required of Frank in concealing his humanity behind a mask of feigned righteousness makes for comic, painful, and moving scenarios.For instance, Frank punishes himself for lapses of self-denial by fasting during long hot days on the ranch. He ties his hands to the bedpost and raps his knuckles with a vegetable grater. When he thinks his eyes have been opened to good and evil, even wholesome pursuits take on sinister undertones: romancing his girlfriend, Marianne, becomes an opportunistic façade for sensual indulgence; hard work and business acumen become the tools of avarice; and the Christian gospel becomes the cruel master of repression. His attempt to exorcise this hypocrisy from his life?and the confusion about how to sincerely atone for it?results in an epiphany that restores perspective to his life?a cleansing moment of such power that readers will themselves feel that they have experienced it.; 6" x 9"; 440 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 56140

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Book Description Signature Books, 2011. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. first edition, fifth edition edition. 384 pages. 9.00x6.00x1.10 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 1560852186

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