DAVID CLARK. The Death of a Disco Dancer. Provo, Utah: Zarahemla Books, 2011.
JACK HARRELL. A Sense of Order and Other Stories. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2010.
STEVEN L. PECK. The Scholar of Moab. Torrey, Utah: Torrey House Press, 2011.
As an enthusiastic reader of literary fiction and as someone who is fascinated by Mormon culture, I am always on the lookout for works of literary fiction that contain Mormon themes or Mormon characters. While there are always plenty of new romances on the shelves at Deseret Book, and Mormon authors frequently find commercial and critical success writing science fiction and books for young adults, it is rare to come across works of contemporary fiction written for adults in which the characters are nuanced and well developed and the authors take risks with form and plot. Over the last two years, three books—Jack Harrell's A Sense of Order and Other Stories, Steven L. Peck's The Scholar of Moab, and David Clark's Death of a Disco Dancer—use Mormon themes and characters in their writing while pushing against some of the boundaries of traditional fiction conventions.
A Sense of Order and Other Stories is the first collection of short stories published by Jack Harrell, a fiction writer and essayist who teaches at BYU– Idaho. The collection won the 2010 Association for Mormon Letters Short Fiction Award. Harrell is currently the coeditor of Irreantum, a literary journal published by the Association for Mormon Letters. His novel, Vernal Promises, won the Marilyn Brown Novel Award in 2000 and was published by Signature Books. The collection A Sense of Order and Other Stories contains sixteen stories, including "Calling and Election," which won first place in the Irreantum fiction contest and was later anthologized in Dispensation: Latter-Day Fiction.