Godforsaken Idaho (Paperback)
Winner of the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction Shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing Named "Outstanding 2014 Collection" by The Story Prize Pushcart Prize Winner
In this stunning debut, Shawn Vestal transports us to the afterlife, the rugged Northwest, and the early days of Mormonism. From The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death, an absurd, profound vision of a hellish heaven, to Winter Elders, in which missionaries calmly and relentlessly pursue a man who has left the fold, these nine stories illuminate the articles of faith that make us human. The concluding triptych tackles the legends and legacy of Mormonism head-on, culminating in Diviner, a seriocomic portrait of the young Joseph Smith, back when he was not yet the founder of a religion but a man hired to find buried treasure. Godforsaken Idaho is an indelible collection by the writer you need to read next.
Godforsaken Idaho named 'Outstanding 2013 Short Story Collections' by The Story Prize.
“Shawn Vestal’s Godforsaken Idaho is a wickedly funny, surprisingly profound collection. These nine stories of prophets and parents, of doppelgangers and pocket dogs, form a thrilling introduction to one of the wryest, most inventive new voices in fiction.”
—Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins
“Godforsaken Idaho mixes the hardpan realism of Richard Ford's Rock Springs with the dreadful wonder of Dan Chaon's best stories. In the lyrical beauty of his sentences, in the brutal choices his characters must make, and in the heartbreaking landscape itself, Shawn Vestal finds startling moments of grace and unexpected redemption.” —Kim Barnes, author of In the Kingdom of Men
“Shutter your windows—Godforsaken Idaho is an awesome storm of history, grit, and revelatory imagination. These stories take huge risks and simply do not falter. Shawn Vestal has set out to reimagine the American West, and he’s done so with the soulful, single-minded purpose of a half-mad pioneer.”
—Patrick Somerville, author of This Bright River and The Cradle