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A man walks into a bar. A dispute ensues, and the bartender kills him. He's sentenced to ten years for manslaughter. In prison, the convict, Wardlin Stuart, writes prayers addressed to no god in particular. Inexplicably, his prayers - whether it's a request for a girlfriend or a special favor for a fellow inmate - are answered, be it in days or weeks. When his collection of supplications, A Handbook of American Prayer, is published by a New York press, Stuart emerges a celebrity author. Settling into a new life in Arizona, he encounters a fundamentalist minister. The two are destined for a confrontation. In the interim, it seems that the god to whom Stuart has been praying has manifested himself on the earth. In this short novel about America's conflicting love triangle - celebrity, spirituality, and money - Shepard negotiates the thin line between the real and the surreal, expounding upon violence and redemption along the way. this story of an unlikely American messiah shows why The Wall Street Journal has compared Shepard, an award-winning author, to Graham Greene, Robert Stone, and Ward Just.
Lucius Shepard (1947 - )
Lucius Taylor Shepard was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1947. He travelled extensively in his youth, and has held a wide assortment of occupations in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia and Latin America, including rock musician and night club bouncer. He attended the Clarion Writers' Workshop in 1980 and made his first commercial sale a year later. His work covers many areas of fantastic fiction and has recently encompassed non-fiction, as well. For over a decade, he has contributed a regular column on SF cinema for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Lucius Shepard has won numerous prizes for his work, including the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Theodore Sturgeon and International Horror Guild awards. He lives in Vancouver, Washington.
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