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Dog on the Cross
Synopses & Reviews
The focus of this striking and intense collection of stories is a small Pentecostal community in Oklahoma struggling with faith and lapses into sin during the week that a fifteen-year-old faith healer comes to town.
From a preacher who loses his ability to speak in tongues and begins to fake it; to a man intent on suppressing his sinful love of his best friend even as he can think of nothing else; to a teenage boy who struggles with the temptation of a young girl; to a grandmother who will stop at nothing to make her grandson famous; their stories and others compose the debut collection of a young and original writer.
In his careful articulation of faith and doubt, sin and self-delusion, allegiance to the church and self-aggrandization, Gwyn — raised Pentecostal by his grandparents — crafts stories that he is uniquely qualified to tell. We're pleased to be launching the career of one of the most distinctive new voices on the literary landscape.
"Mr. Gwyn writes in a taut, authoritative style....The stories, related in time and place, are utterly humorless, powerful documentations of lives altered by the narrow central vision of the church that serves as the center of communal life." Dallas Morning News
"There is a timeless, sometimes dreamlike quality to these pieces, all of which take place in or have a connection to rural Oklahoma....Fear and judgment outweigh faith and love in these eight stories." Charlotte Observer
"Although each of these stories is capable of standing on its own, together they represent a potent glimpse into the occasionally uplifting but more often dangerously fanatical elements of religious fundamentalism." Booklist
"[A] striking collection of quirky stories, strung together with themes of faith and self-discovery." Library Journal
"Brace yourself for immersion in a world of sinners and saved, backsliders and revivals, where women are often Satan's means of tempting men and two men coupling are the ultimate abomination....An auspicious first." Kirkus Reviews
With the dark humor of Flannery O'Connor and the grittiness of Larry Brown, a gifted young writer invites readers into a small Pentecostal community where faith and salvation give way to lives of quiet desperation.
A man miraculously survives a fall from the eighth floor of a drilling rig but is ever after plagued by an unwillingness to live. A preacher loses his ability to speak in tongues and begins to fake it. A young man is intent on suppressing his sinful love for his best friend even though he can think of nothing else. A teenage boy struggles with the temptation of a young girl. A grandmother will stop at nothing to make her grandson famous. These are some of the good citizens of Perser, Oklahoma. And in Aaron Gwyn's debut collection, the people of Perser are unpredictable and unforgettable as they struggle with lapses into sin during the week a young faith healer comes to town.
In his careful articulation of faith and doubt, sin and self-delusion, allegiance to the church and self-glorification, Gwyn reveals himself as a writer of great heart and complexity, creating a world that burns with pain, love, and an odd kind of devotion.
About the Author
Aaron Gwyn's stories have been published in Louisiana Literature, Glimmer Train, and Black Warrior Review and anthologized in New Stories from the South. He is currently at work on his first novel, Ink, about a tattoo repair artist. He lives with his wife in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he is an Assistant Professor of American Literature at UNC-Charlotte.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z