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Lamb Bright Saviors (Flyover Fiction)by Robert Vivian
"Robert Vivian writes with an eye for detail and an ear for music, composing stories from sentences as shapely as Baroque scrollwork and fun as a carnival ride.... [His] descriptions delve deep into the resonances among things. Heat waves on a road don't just make a mirage, but "from far away the heat made their footsteps tremble on the dusty road like candle flames." Mady (the girl) describes a woman in a diner with "jangling bracelets on her arm that sound like hubcaps falling down a stairwell." In Vivian's writing — he's also published poetry and essays and has had several plays produced — every word works on the levels of story, sound, and image: the jangle of those bracelets conjures a woman who knows all too well the sound hubcaps might make falling down a stairwell. " Kelly Lenox, Powells.com (Read the entire Powells.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Robert Vivian's prose is lyrical and harrowing — "harrowing in the Biblical sense," Sven Birkerts said of The Mover of Bones, the first book in Vivian's Tall Grass Trilogy. That same lyrical power carries this new volume to a place of hard-won hope and redemption at once both spiritual and earthly.
Lamb Bright Saviors begins as an apocalyptically inclined itinerant preacher staggers across the Nebraska prairie. With his young assistant, Mady, in tow hauling a wagon stacked with bibles, its not long before the preacher finds hes come to the final fulfillment of his self-proclaimed life's work: to die in front of a group of strangers. Odd as his own end-of-days might be, the lives and struggles of the strangers attending this deathbed scene are even odder. As the dying preacher unleashes a barrage of hallucinatory ramblings and rantings in the hope of imparting wisdom, each ragtag member of this unlikely congregation must reckon with his or her own dark past. And, through it all, the irrepressible Mady lends the preachers strange performance a surprising and unforgettable dignity and humor.
"The Lamb Bright Saviors of Vivian's stark latest (after The Mover of Bones) are four damaged man-boys chosen by a terminally ill itinerant preacher named Mr. Gene to witness his death at the house of a blind woman in a small Nebraska town they've dubbed Point Blank, 'because there's nowhere to hide and nothing to protect you.' Each recounts his own sordid story as they listen to Mr. Gene's deathbed rant. Oly lives in the dugout of an abandoned baseball field and dreams of a job as a junior high sports coach. Yarborough, an ex-con, gets bloody revenge on a former fellow inmate before forgiving him. Gus covers his body with tattoos, wanting 'to have the imprint of my rage stamped across my skin.' Munoz, back from the war in Iraq, has brought with him the head of a friend killed in combat. Vivian is a latter-day Faulkner set loose with no editorial restraints, so there is no need to suspend your disbelief for this story. You can only go along for the brilliantly written ride, full of sound and fury that signifies little but moves us intensely." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Vivian is a latter-day Faulkner set loose with no editorial restraints, so there is no need to suspend your disbelief for this story. You can only go along for the brilliantly written ride, full of sound and fury that signifies little but moves us intensely."Publishers Weekly
"Vivian is a master of the delicately constructed narrative. . . . Lamb Bright Saviors explores the relationship of the torments of the present to the mistakes of the past, laying bare the strange twists and turns of our human and inhuman inner lives." Brian Evenson, author of Altmanns Tongue and The Open Curtain
"A brave and profoundly moving novel of faith and forgiveness. A closely observed novel of voices, it speaks the tongues of Americas impoverished underbelly and reveals, amid the squalor, mystery, goodness, and salvation." Douglas Glover, author of Elle and The Life and Times of Captain N.
"Even when writing about violence, Vivians prose glows with an internal light that creates a continual sense of wonder. With its multiple voices and keen sense of place, Lamb Bright Saviors takes those qualities that so defined a writer such as Faulkner and makes them new for a changed world." Sue William Silverman, author of Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You
"Lamb Bright Saviors delivers a powerful story within its mere 185 pages. Calling upon the vast prairies of the physical landscape and the crowded alleys of the human mind, Robert Vivian guides us through the possibilities of failure and redemption in a profound yet immensely readable novel." Christy Corp-Minamiji, Blogcritics
About the Author
Robert Vivian is a professor of English and creative writing at Alma College in Michigan and also teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of The Mover of Bones (Nebraska 2006) and Cold Snap as Yearning, available in a Bison Books edition.
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