Synopses & Reviews
A glorious debut that T.C. Boyle calls "powerful and deeply moving" that follows two young Mormon missionaries in Brazil and their tense, peculiar friendship.
Elder McLeod — outspoken, surly, a brash American — is nearing the end of his mission in Brazil. For nearly two years he has spent his days studying the Bible and the Book of Mormon, knocking on doors, teaching missionary lessons — “experimenting on the word.” His new partner is Elder Passos, a devout, ambitious Brazilian who found salvation and solace in the church after his mother’s early death. The two men are at first suspicious of each other, and their work together is frustrating, fruitless. That changes when a beautiful woman and her husband offer the missionaries a chance to be heard, to put all of their practice to good use, to test the mettle of their faith. But before they can bring the couple to baptism, they must confront their own long-held beliefs and doubts, and the simmering tensions at the heart of their friendship.
A novel of unsparing honesty and beauty, Elders announces Ryan McIlvain as a writer of enormous talent.
“Elders is a refreshingly earnest, clear-eyed, and self-assured debut by a young writer to watch. McIlvain wrestles with sturdy themes, conflicted characters, and big ideas — the stuff of classic literature." Jonathan Evison, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
"McIlvain dissects the mix of need and ambition and genuine faith that fuel a disciplined devotion....Earthbound....Honest....Builds to [a] drastic resolution." Slate
ldquo;A nuanced meditation on faith and commitment that has all the intensity of a stage play. Elders is a powerful and deeply moving debut from a gifted young writer.” T.C. Boyle
“With strong, economical language, Ryan McIlvain has crafted a terrific story. From exotic Brazil to an even stranger America. These characters are presented fully and with great affection. I'm certain this is the first of many fine works from an important new voice.” Percival Everett
About the Author
Ryan McIlvain grew up in the Mormon Church and resigned his membership from it in his mid-twenties. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals, including The Paris Review. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford from 2009 to 2011, he currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles.