A Handbook of American Prayer
Thunder's Mouth Press
, 2006 - Fiction
- 263 pages
From the first lines of A Handbook of American Prayer, award-winning author Lucius Shepard signals his place in the classic American tradition of confessional memoirists. While his plot is unique, his literary precedents include the great moral chroniclers of crime on the biblical scale.
Wardlin Stuart is an American messiah, a man who seems to have a direct line to God?but if he does, it's a divinity unlike any you may have prayed to. Stuart's story begins when he kills a man in a bar and is sentenced to ten years in prison for manslaughter. In prison, he composes prose, poems, and prayers addressed to no recognizable god. He intends to produce only small benefits, no miracles. But miraculously, what he asks for happens, whether it be a girlfriend for himself or special privileges for fellow prisoners. Soon Wardlin is regarded as a local shaman, and he emerges from prison a national celebrity. Stardom pushes Wardlin into conflict with a fundamentalist minister, and. the two are destined for a showdown. In the meantime, it seems as if the god to whom Stuart prays has come into being, and is walking the earth.