American Gospel


Product Details

$24.95  $22.95
University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date
6.2 X 9.0 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author

Lin Enger has published two previous novels, Undiscovered Country and The High Divide, a finalist for awards from the Midwest Booksellers Association, the Society of Midland Authors, and Reading the West. His stories have been published in literary journals such as Glimmer Train, Ascent, and American Fiction. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has received a James Michener Award, a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, and a Jerome travel grant. He teaches English at Minnesota State University Moorhead.


"No one illuminates father-son relationships better than Lin Enger. He masterfully weaves a deeply moving and unforgettable story about faith, ambition, and the tangled threads that bind family and community. Wise and lyrical, American Gospel kept me spellbound from the first word to the last."--Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Glovemaker

"A tightly constructed novel in which unexpected second chances lead to forgiveness, lost and found families, and enlightenment. American Gospel is tenderly written, expertly plotted, and culminates in an ending for the ages. A wonderful book."--Nickolas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs and Little Faith

"Lin Enger's American Gospel is a marvel, a novel of suspense featuring an unlikely cast of characters: a backwoods preacher in northern Minnesota whose near-death experience propels the plot; his son, a struggling journalist; and a glamorous movie star addicted to pain pills. A prediction that the Rapture is imminent brings them together, and each must confront personal beliefs as well as unresolved issues of their shared history. Long after its exciting climax, the captivating characters, vivid images, and provocative themes of American Gospel are sure to linger with readers."--Larry Watson, author of Montana 1948

"The word gospel means "good news," and Enoch Bywater, a self-styled preacher with a ministry at the Last Days Ranch in northern Minnesota believes he's heard the best news of all. During an incident of Sudden Cardiac Death, Enoch had a vision of the Rapture, and believes God told him the date it would happen: August 19, 1974, two weeks away. Events move quickly after this revelation. Enoch leaves the hospital to begin preparations at the Last Days Ranch for the crowds of the faithful whom he is sure will come. He also manipulates his son, Peter, to return from New York City for the event, and convinces a former neighbor, now a Hollywood actress, to return as well. The novel is plot-driven, and moves quickly, often with gentle humor. Events in the book occur against the backdrop of Nixon's resignation from the presidency, and the political maneuvering around it, reminding readers of political tension earlier in our history as a nation. Like to guess how a book will end? Chances are you won't be able to do it with this book!"--Sally Wizik Wills

"American Gospel is a glorious novel about what people choose to believe--and, more importantly, why they choose to believe it." --Foreword Reviews, starred review