A Sense of Order and Other Stories
by Jack Harrell
236 pp. 978-1-56085-209-4
$26.95. hardback. August 2010
The author asks a big question: Who is responsible? One person in need of this information is Lon, who wonders why his marriage is falling apart. Lon thought his wife would re-initiate intimacy at some point. She doesn’t, and he sets out to find the man he thinks stands between them but only finds an apparition—and he still can’t fix his marriage.
In another story, the LDS prophet is drawn to s simpler time when he could wander out unnoticed and buy a candy bar. Church Security won’t let him outside on his own and Public Relations won’t let him wear anything but a suit and tie. Still, the impulse to be a regular guy for an afternoon is compelling. Can’t he make his own decisions? He can, but what are the consequences?
And then there’s Jerry, who passes three men in suits who are talking and laughing at the loading dock behind an LDS temple. One of them looks up, drops a cigarette and crushes it, then slips into a nearby car. Another man—someone who has made Jerry’s life miserable—taunts him, saying: “Jerry, your goodness is your enemy … and tell all your friends.” Who is responsible? Maybe it’s the author’s reverie that’s to blame, but his stories have a way of getting deep inside the psyche and haunting us.
Jack Harrell teaches English and creative writing at Brigham Young University-Idaho and co-edits the LDS literary journal Irreantum. He has published fiction and essays in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Manna, Words of Wisdom, Popular Music and Society, and the anthology Dispensation: Latter-Day Fiction. His novel, Vernal Promises, received the Marilyn Brown Novel Award from the Association for Mormon Letters, and of his short stories, “Calling and Election” won the 2007 Fiction Contest from Irreantum and “A Prophet’s Story” won the 2009 Brookie and D. K. Brown Fiction Contest from Sunstone. He lives in Rexburg, Idaho, with his wife, Cindy.