Under the Cottonwoods
and Other Mormon Stories
by Douglas Thayer
Douglas H. Thayer is appreciated by many as the foremost writer of short fiction in the Mormon Church. The ten stories of this collection reveal the skill and fresh vision for which Thayer is noted; they provide the perfect framework for his insights into contemporary experience, insights revealed in subtle characterizations, vivid imagery, and unique symbolism. The plots are not linear arrangements of actions, they are carefully woven fabrics of detail.
The stories are set in Provo, perhaps Utah’s most Mormon city. The characters are decent people, comfortable in their moderate affluence and in the unexamined assurances of their faith. Then for each character Thayer creates a disturbance—the comfort is threatened, the faith 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.