New short fiction from Jack Harrell and Johnny Townsend


Or newish, rather. Harrell’s collection () came out in 2010 and Townsend’s (Mormon Fairy Tales) in 2011.

(Obligatory notes: Harrell’s book was originally given by his publisher to Karen Rosenbaum who wrote about it in Dialogue and then passed it on to me; Townsend’s was given to me with the idea that I might eventually review it.)

I finished reading A Sense of Order (skip to review) in April and stopped reading Mormon Fairy Tales shortly thereafter. Since then I’ve been meaning to take my (copious) notes and write about them.

But I’m not writing this post because I’ve figured out how to write about these books together, but because I will never figure out how unless I do.

Continue reading “New short fiction from Jack Harrell and Johnny Townsend”

Ben C. reviews the short story collection The Abominable Gayman

Wm says: Ben Christensen was kind enough to submit this review, which takes a look at another entry in the interesting sub-genre of “Mormon literature that is also gay literature.” And what’s really interesting is that he does so by comparing it to John Bennion’s novel Falling Toward Heaven, which is about sexuality, but that of the hetero- variety.

Ben Christensen used to blog at the Fobcave. Now he lurks on other people’s blogs. And submits the occasional guest post, apparently.

Title: The Abominable Gayman
Author: Johnny Townsend

Reviewed by Ben Christensen

Note: Ben received a free review copy of this book from the author.

“I used to think,” says Elder Anderson, the narrator and protagonist of The Abominable Gayman, “that the goal of perfection meant we all had to become the same, but here in Italy, I’d seen new flowers, tasted different foods, spoken a different language, and I realized that the best, most perfect rose could never inspire the exact same feelings as a perfect hedge of five-pointed star jasmine.” Elder Anderson, you see, is a gay Mormon serving a mission in Rome, and is only starting to consider the possibility that perhaps becoming straight is not a necessary step on his path to perfection. In the process of figuring out where this collection of short stories fits in gay Mormon literature–whether nearer Jonathan Langford’s No Going Back or Tony Kushner’s Angels in America–I realized it doesn’t necessarily fit among other gay Mormon-themed literature. But it is definitely Mormon literature. The most appropriate comparison, I believe, is to John Bennion’s Falling Toward Heaven. Both Falling and Gayman tell the story of a young man who, by normal Mormon standards, is doing everything wrong, yet somehow finds himself stumbling into a better understanding of himself and a closer relationship with God. Continue reading “Ben C. reviews the short story collection The Abominable Gayman”