Shawn Vestal will share his short-story collection, “Godforsaken Idaho,” at a book talk at the library Thursday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m., in the Community Room.
Vestal draws on his own experiences as a former Mormon to reimagine life in Northwestern America. An acclaimed McSweeney’s and Tin House contributor, Vestal conjures the rough and rowdy reality of the American West and the humor and scrappiness of everyday life, illuminating the articles of faith that make us human.
He is a columnist and reporter for the Spokesman-Review and a former copy editor for the Coeur d’Alene Press.
Vestal’s stories move backward in time and are loosely connected by a vast and sprawling family. “The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death” (previously published in Tin House) is a comic vision of the afterlife in which everyone in heaven is the age they were when they died – a fantasy both profound and absurd. The Los Angeles Times writes, “Vestal gets at the complexity of family dynamics in what feels like a wholly original way – magnifying all its terrible poignancy by freezing it in eternity.”
In the tough yet tender “About As Fast As This Car Can Go,” an ex-con introduces his teenage son to crime, and in “Winter Elders,” Mormon missionaries pursue a man who has left the fold – with chilling results. The three concluding stories take on the legends and legacy of Mormonism head on. “Diviner,” the final piece, is an indelible portrait of the young Joseph Smith, in the days when he was not yet the founder of the faith but a man hired to find buried treasure.
Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315.