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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday, March 27 - Shawn Vestal

Tonight on Bibliocracy, KPFK 90.7 FM at 8 PM: SHAWN VESTAL.  My guest this week was perhaps given lemons, sour and sweet, by way of family, culture, religion and politics, but out of it he has squeezed literary lemonade indeed, co-opting and transforming and repurposing the myths and tropes and vernacular of his Mormon upbringing into serious, sincere short literary fiction.  Somehow not exactly disrespecting that religion but instead perhaps respecting more the resisters, doubters, overlooked or victimized and even maybe himself, Shawn Vestal has rewritten past and present and future toward creating alternative and transgressive, often funny and frequently very much darker versions of the already dark, weird and fascinating tales of that experience.  Author of the new collection of short stories, Godforsaken Idaho, Vestal takes the iconography, stories, obsessions and cultural practices of the “family home evenings” tradition and reworks them for audiences in a big wink or grimace, you decide, but in nine stories elegant, smart, funny and resonant.  His day job is as a regular columnist for Spokane, Washington’s Spokesman-Review, and these and other stories have appeared in McSweeney’s, Tin House and in the new anthology from Ecotone magazine called Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone's First Decade.  This is one of my most favorite recent short story collections, covering past, present ant future, from heaven to the mythic stories of the conquest of the American West.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, or as a download whenever you like, free from the KPFK audio archives.    

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