Wednesday, May 7, 2014
--This review was originally posted on Main Street Plaza.
Order this great read here.
Johnny Townsend has done it again. He’s delivered more deliciously subversive Mormon fiction in his delightful new collection, Selling the City of Enoch.
As in his previous works, Townsend’s well-drawn characters are too complex to fit into the Mormon cookie-cutter mold. For example, the overly curious Sister Covino who can’t look the other way when her mission president’s wife appears to have been murdered. Or Lucy, a recent convert who, lacking the human connections she’d hoped to form in her new ward, resorts to renting a family for the Christmas holiday. Similarly disenfranchised, an ambitious Wiccan politician lamely aspires to be the mayor of Salt Lake City—that is, until he has an alien encounter while hiking Bryce Canyon. And then there is the charming Mrs. Mariposa, the title character of my favorite story in the collection, who marries the love of her life in the Mormon temple and then surprises him with the news that she isn’t technically a woman.
Selling the City of Enoch exists at that awkward intersection where the LDS ideal meets the real world, and Townsend navigates his terrain with humor, insight and pathos.