Questions and Answers: Dave Farland’s In the Company of Angels

Earlier this summer, I helped start a book club among some of the more mature couples in our ward. (Yes, I’m aware that I don’t necessarily qualify. On more than one count. Don’t even go there.)

For our second meeting, I proposed three Mormon lit titles: In the Company of Angels, Dave Farland’s (aka Wolverton’s) historical novel about the Willie handcart company; Bound on Earth, by Angela Hallstrom; and The Tree House, by Doug Thayer. The consensus went to Farland’s novel. So that was the one we read and discussed.

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I’m not going to gripe about the 2009 Whitney, AML awards

Now that the 2009 Whitney Awards have been awarded, I was all set to do a detailed post-mortem on them and the 2009 AML Awards. A little compare and contrast. Some armchair psycho-social analyzing. A strong dose or two of obvious oversights. etc. etc. But as that analysis swirled in my head Saturday evening, I realized that I had no desire to do it. Not because I’m going soft (although that’s always a possibility), but for this one reason:

The AML gave the best novel award to Rift by Todd Robert Petersen. (Amazon)

The Whitney voters gave the best novel award to In the Company of Angels by David Farland. (Amazon)

That’s a pretty good year, and if those awards inspired just 10 people each to pick up one of those novels and read them, I’d be quite pleased. They are both thorougly Mormon; they are both thoroughly LDS; they are both challenging and affirming; they are both very well written; they are both by writers who deserve to be remembered decades from now (and awards like this always help with that kind of cultural memory). Well done, brothers and sisters. The bottom line is ya’ll came through in the categories that (in my opinion) matter the most. I’m not going to gripe or quibble about the rest. There’s always next year for that.

In the Company of Angels: the love song of David Farland

Orson Scott Card said that his historical novel, Saints, was a “love song to my people.” Full of fiery characters debating quintessential Mormon dilemmas against the backdrop of a historically-charged time period, it was a ballad that delighted and disturbed both mainstream Mormon readers and OSC’s readers who subscribed to other faiths. David Farland’s In the Company of Angels (which I received a complimentary review copy of), is an effort in a similar vein–exhaustively researched, unfailingly plot driven, surprisingly modern in its attitudes, full of an apologist’s love–and will probably give readers similar moments of delight and disturbance. Continue reading “In the Company of Angels: the love song of David Farland”