Dream House on Golan Drive
by David Pace
paperback / 300 pages / 978-1-56085-241-4 / $24.95 / November 2015
It is the year 1972, and Riley Hartley finds that he, his family, community, and his faith are entirely indistinguishable from each other. He is eleven. A young woman named Lucy claims God has revealed to her that she is to live with Riley’s family. Her quirks are strangely disarming, her relentless questioning of their life incendiary and sometimes comical. Her way of taking religious practice to its logical conclusion leaves a strong impact on her hosts and propels Riley outside his observable universe toward a trajectory of self-discovery.
Set in Provo and New York City during the seventies and eighties, the story encapsulates the normal expectations of a Mormon experience and turns them on their head. The style, too, is innovative in how it employs as narrator “Zed,” one of the apocryphal Three Nephites who, with another immortal figure, the Wandering Jew of post-biblical legend, engage regularly in light-hearted banter and running commentary, animating the story and leavening the heartache with humor and tenderness.
David G. Pace has published in Alligator Juniper, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, ellipsis, Phone Fiction, Quarterly West, and Sunstone. Winner of Association for Mormon Letters and Dialogue Foundation Best Short Awards, Pace continues to follow his muse as the literary editor of 15 Bytes magazine.
“David Pace’s novel is a wonder to behold. He takes the soul of a true believer from the “perfect Mormon family” in the Provo foothills (where David also grew up) and exposes him to the outside world, seen and unseen, including an encounter with one of the three immortal Nephites. As Riley struggles to hold onto his beliefs, it may seem like little enough for some readers, but for some of us it is hugely sufficient and satisfactory. This is a dazzling contribution to Mormon literature.” —Phyllis Barber, author of How I Got Cultured: A Nevada Memoir and To the Mountain: One Mormon Woman’s Search for Spirit
“Who better to tell the story of the coming of age of a bright and confused Riley Hartley—son of an LDS Church icon—than the ‘old jaded Nephite’ Zed (short for Zedekiah), one of the three ancients allowed to wander the earth forever? Zed proves the perfect guardian and storyteller, a cynical wise man whose ‘eternal, ineffectual musings’ draw us into unexpected places—a heart of darkness. Chekhov said that an author needs to correctly identify a problem and solve it, but that only the first task is obligatory. Pace has met this obligation. In the grip of an Abrahamic moment, Riley can find no solace or consolation. The metaphysics of the novel may be religious, but the answer cannot be found in any catechism.” —Darrell Spencer, author of A Woman Packing a Pistol, Our Secret’s Out, and Bring Your Legs with You
“A superb depiction of Utah life in the 1970s and 1980s, complete with many of the now-discounted Mormon cultural practices of the time. This might have been the story of my own Linda Wallheim’s first husband, Ben. The author has given us a beautiful portrait of a man torn apart by his culture, his beliefs, and his deepest self.” —Mette Ivie Harrison, author of The Bishop’s Wife and His Right Hand (forthcoming)
“Mormon literature gets a welcome jolt of honest genuine salty blunt lyrical narrative here; it’s a mark of maturity when a culture of any kind faces itself squarely, with pain and humor and grace, and David Pace’s wry bruised novel is accessible, revelatory, and startling. I was deeply moved.” —Brian Doyle, author of Mink River; The Plover; and Leaping: Revelations and Epiphanies