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Mormon Fairy Tales by Johnny Townsend

Mormon Fairy Tales

by Johnny Townsend

316 pages
Fascinating Mormon folktales with an unorthodox twist.

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
In these stories, we discover how the Three Nephites from the Book of Mormon cope with their frustrated sexuality, when their wives aren't immortal as they are. A deceased sinner plots to break out of Spirit Prison. An obsessive-compulsive missionary covers himself with sacred protective garments. A polygamist in 1855 Utah is ordered to take a fourth wife, when all he really wants is to be with another man. A mentally unstable woman abandoned by the Church is driven to homelessness. A same-sex couple has a wedding atop an ancient Mayan temple. A disappointed wife plots revenge when her temple worker husband sues the Church for an on-the-job injury. Aliens visiting the U.N. reveal that God really does live on the planet Kolob. In his tenth book, Johnny Townsend shows us yet again why he is "an important voice in the Mormon community."


In "Mormon Fairy Tales," Johnny Townsend displays "both a wicked sense of irony and a deep well of compassion."
- Kel Munger, Sacramento News & Review
The best thing you can say about Townsend's collection of short stories is that, after reading it, you can't tell if Townsend is a Mormon. While his many touching vignettes draw deeply from Mormon mythology, history, spirituality and culture, his book is neither a gaudy act of proselytism nor angry protest literature from an ex-believer....Townsend's genre-bending tales span geography, space and time, taking us from 19th-century Salt Lake to late-21st century Kansas City, or from "Spirit Prison" to the U.N. where an alien has just arrived to explain that God does really live on the planet Kolob. For a lesser writer, this challenging range would press fiction into absurdity. But for Townsend--who has a bit of Philip K. Dick's blood flowing through his veins--it only adds to the richness and variety of his developing oeuvre.
- Kirkus Reviews
That's one of the reasons why I found Johnny Townsend's new book "Mormon Fairy Tales" SO MUCH FUN!! Without fretting about what the theology is supposed to be if it were pinned down, Townsend takes you on a voyage to explore the rich-but-undertapped imagination of Mormonism. I loved his portrait of spirit prison! He really nailed it--not in an official doctrine sort of way, but in a sort of "if you know Mormonism, you know this is what it must be like" way--and what a prison it is! But flights of fairy-tale fantasy aren't the only strength of Townsend's work. He also captures the feelings and personalities of a variety of people on the fringes, fitting their lives into Mormonism and Mormonism into their lives. Johnny Townsend has written at least ten books of Mormon stories. So far, I've read only two ("Mormon Fairy Tales" and "The Circumcision of God"), but I'm planning to read the rest--and you should too, if you'd like a fun and interesting new perspective on Mormons in life and imagination!
- C.L. Hanson


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About the Author
Johnny Townsend earned an MFA in fiction writing from Louisiana State University and has published stories and essays in Newsday, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Humanist, The Progressive, Christopher Street, The Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train, Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and in many other publications.



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