A Handbook of American Prayer: A Novel

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Thunder's Mouth Press, 2004 - Fiction - 263 pages
4 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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User Review  - Lukerik - LibraryThing

This is an excellent novel, really outstanding. It's about a man who has apparently invented a method of writing prayers such that when you pray them they are answered. It's like a literary equivalent ... Read full review

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User Review  - eheinlen - LibraryThing

This book was not at all what I expected. I did not expect this book to be written by a murderer. It was a really weird book. I'm not sure I liked it. Also, the book had several grammatical errors in it. Read full review

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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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