The Ogden Standard-Examiner has posted a clip of Layton native Darren DeFrain reading from his debut novel The Salt Palace. Unfortunately, although the paper calls it a “Podcast,” it’s a streaming clip.
The Salt Palace will be published this month by New Issues Press.
Here’s what they have posted by way of marketing copy:
“‘If you think we don’t need another heavily footnoted Mormon road trip basketball novel, think again. With this unorthodox gem, Darren DeFrain creates a genre of his own, with the athletic ease of the Angel Moroni going in for a lay-up. Thoughtful, deadpan, shot through with comic inspiration, it’s a debut worth doing the wave for.’
–J. Robert Lennon, author of Mailman”
I’m intrigued. This sounds like the first attempt at a Mormon Eggersian/Foerian/David Fosters Wallaceian novel.
More about the novel, including a preview of the first chapter, is available on DeFrain’s Web site.
EDIT: FYI, some AMV readers might be offended by the language of the first chapter posted on DeFrain’s site (acutally it’s the first two chaptes). However, to my recollection, the audio clip contains no offensive language.
EDIT II: Some also might quibble with some of DeFrain’s descriptions of Mormonism in his footnotes. I find them to be mixed — some are fair (albeit from an outsider-ish perspective); some aren’t. And I still find this novel interesting and have asked for a review copy. It’s also going to be an interesting test of the national market to see how many reviews this novel receives. Considering that it’s being released by a small press, I would expect there to not be many. Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to see how critics deal with the Mormon elements of the work.
EDIT III: One more blurb — this confirms my interest in the novel and offers the hope that it will fall in the tradition of Udall’s The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint or Peterson’s The Backsliders, rather than, say, Evenson’s Father of Lies.
“‘The Salt Palace is a novel that zigzags across America, across our religion-soaked history too: our national obsession with shorter, faster routes to redemption. Its protagonist, Brian, leaves his claustrophobic life in Michigan to revisit his childhood home and faith. He wants to live in it, and outside it too, sampling all the generous, heady, forbidden sensation. He makes this trip with a one-armed, splinter-sect prophet who might be a lunatic. It’s never clear. Neither is the right path. Yet Brian and therefore the reader is granted a fleeting glimpse of a grace-filled, ecumenical afterlife the most cynical of us would be glad to inhabit. I loved this novel, its risks and realities.’
— Debra Monroe, author of Shambles, Newfangled, A Wild, Cold State, and The Source of Trouble”