by Douglas H. Thayer
Paperback / 258 pages / 0-941214-18-4 / $7.95
For a devout young Mormon, confident about his adherence to church guidelines, the first stumbling block in life can come with adolescence. Owen Williams, Thayer’s protagonist, used to check a list of commandments monthly to see if he was approaching perfection. But at age fourteen he stopped because he was experiencing conflicts for which he had no categories. Owen’s first time away from home as a summer ranch hand leaves him puzzled over the vulgarity of older employees. Thayer skillfully addresses this introduction into the world beyond home and school where Owen encounters individuals who are cynical, coarse, intimidating, and relentlessly demanding. Owen’s preconceptions about himself and his environment are irrevocably challenged.
Douglas Thayer teaches English at Brigham Young University, where he has served as director of composition, chair of creative writing, associate department chair, and associate dean. He has received various awards for his fiction, including the Karl G. Maeser Creative Arts Award. He is the author of the novels, Summer Fire, The Conversion of Jeff Williams, and two collections of short stories, Mr. Wahlquist in Yellowstone and Under the Cottonwoods and Other Mormon Stories, and has been published in the Colorado Quarterly, Dialogue, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.