A Handbook of American Prayer: A Novel

Front Cover
Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004 - Fiction - 263 pages
14 Reviews
A man walks into a bar. A dispute ensues, and the bartender kills him. He's sentenced to ten years for manslaughter. In prison, the convict, Wardlin Stuart, writes prayers addressed to no god in particular. Inexplicably, his prayers whether it's a request for a girlfriend or a special favor for a fellow inmate are answered, be it in days or weeks. When his collection of supplications, A Handbook of American Prayer, is published by a New York press, Stuart emerges a celebrity author. Settling into a new life in Arizona, he encounters a fundamentalist minister. The two are destined for a confrontation. In the interim, it seems that the god to whom Stuart has been praying has manifested himself on the earth. In this short novel about America's conflicting love triangle celebrity, spirituality, and money Shepard negotiates the thin line between the real and the surreal, expounding upon violence and redemption along the way. This story of an unlikely American messiah shows why The Wall Street Journal has compared Shepard, an award-winning author, to Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and Ward Just.

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Review: A Handbook of American Prayer

User Review  - Michelleandderek Nakagawa - Goodreads

It starts out quite violently for a book with this title, but don't worry it gets worse. A good read, with a much deeper theme than it originally seems to have, this book reminded me in parts of "Fear ... Read full review

Review: A Handbook of American Prayer

User Review  - Jim Sanderson - Goodreads

Hands down one of the best written books I've ever read; Shepard's prose is exemplary. Thought provoking, wise, wry, reserved... it's such a shame we won't be seeing any more work from him. This is a great book - you deserve to read it... Read full review

About the author (2004)

Lucius Shepard was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1947. He wrote in many different genres including science fiction and fantasy, cyberpunk, magical realism, poetry, and non-fiction. He published his first short stories in 1983 and his first novel, Green Eyes, in 1984. His other works include Life During Wartime, The Jaguar Hunter, and Two Trains Running. He won several awards including the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1985, the Nebula Award for the novella R&R, the Hugo Award for the novella Barnacle Bill the Spacer, and the Shirley Jackson Award for the novella Vacancy. He died on March 18, 2014 at the age of 66.

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