Title: The End of the Straight and Narrow
Book Condition: New
Publisher: Southern Methodist University Press October 2008
0870745506 / 9780870745508
Seller ID: 45610
We tend to think it's a good thing when a writer's work can't be easily compared to the nagging presence of say, Flannery O'Connor or Walker Percy. David McGlynn shapes absorbing stories in neat prose. He does his research and he takes us where he wants to. As the character Rowdy articulates this in the title story, 'The End of the Straight and Narrow': 'Since I'm the keeper of these stories, I decide how they are told, who speaks and who doesn't. I get to say how this all turns out.' McGlynn's portraits of the zealous explore the inner lives of a neglected population in contemporary fiction-the Evangelical Christian. Against a backdrop of disaster (including fire, hurricane, drowning, and landslide), McGlynn's characters lust and evangelize, betray and sacrifice, attempt repentance, confess, and, at times, simply disappear into the horizon. Truth is a pivotal force in these stories, and so is choice. Again, in the words of Rowdy, 'I knew that even disappearing stories required plausibility: a real moment when you could have chosen a different path. A time you zagged instead of zigged. A single altercation of the truth can make all the difference.' Faith takes turns as an illuminating and isolating force, revealing with conviction the polarities (even paradoxes) of belief. 'A thousand tiny abandonments fluttered in his soul,' writes McGlynn of a character struggling with the reality of chastity, 'like the butterflies over the buckwheat, declaring not a presence, but the absence formed by desire.' 216 pp.