Montana Public Radio

Shawn Vestal's Godforsaken Idaho is Populated with Mormons

Oct 9, 2013

Godforsaken Idaho: Stories, by Shawn Vestal

During the program Shawn Vestal talks about and reads from his collection of stories titled 'Godforsaken Idaho.'

In Godforsaken Idaho , Shawn Vestal transports us to the afterlife, the rugged Northwest, and the early days of Mormonism. From “The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death,” an absurd, profound vision of a hellish heaven, to "Winter Elders," in which missionaries calmly and relentlessly pursue a man who has left the fold, these nine stories illuminate the articles of faith that make us human.

The concluding triptych tackles the legends and legacy of Mormonism head-on, culminating in "Diviner," a seriocomic portrait of the young Joseph Smith, back when he was not yet the founder of a religion but a man hired to find buried treasure.

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Shawn Vestal

Shawn Vestal is the author of Godforsaken Idaho , a collection of short stories published by New Harvest in April 2013. His stories have appeared in Tin House , McSweeney's , Ecotone , The Southern Review , Cutbank , Sou'wester , Florida Review and other journals. He writes a column for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane,Wash., and teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University.

The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.