From Publishers Weekly
In this fascinating memoir, novelist Richard (Fishboy) details a life that led him from a lurid South to the gray streets of New York City. Born with deformities that left him nearly crippled, Richard suffered medical procedures that would have done a medieval torturer proud. Richard's status as a "special child" (it was also believed he was mentally handicapped) meant that he was further marginalized. As an outsider, Richard meets bizarre characters and finds himself in increasingly bizarre situations. As he dives into a world of crime and bad behavior, Richard hones his talent as a writer, with increasing success. Richard's flattened narrative tone suits the extreme nature of his material. He successfully weaves into his memoir recurring characters like his father, who slowly come into focus. As Richard gets older, however, characters and events blur in a mess of love affairs and crimes, shipwrecks and drug deals, and celebrities. Throughout, there's a grace to even his darkest tales. (Feb.)
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A Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year
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"Read Richard's amazing memoir House of Prayer No. 2 — read it as soon as you can, you'll barrel through it — and you'll know after just two pages of his effortlessly killer prose that he's special all right ... Narrating, mostly, through the best use of second-person urgency since Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, he describes being a disc jockey, a deckhand, a private eye, a ditchdigger. The man can tell a full story in the flick of a phrase ... Hallelujah. A"
"An absorbing account of growing up in the 1960s South, living with a disability, becoming a writer and finding faith. Richard’s book attests to the power of words (and the Word) in shaping a life, while at the same time challenging some dearly held beliefs about memoir as a genre ... [His] special childhood results in considerable powers of observation, empathy and imagination ... Richard is a fiercely gifted writer."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A liberating demonstration of the power of faith."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Deploying the second person in a memoir, as Mark Richard does in the entrancing House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home, is like dropping an atomic bomb. Richard’s prose is gorgeous – and hits with a force that sometimes stuns ... His propulsive prose makes House of Prayer No. 2 a surprising page turner ... Where other memoirists – evangelical and/or literary – just bluff and brag, he makes art.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“So varied, dramatic, and, at times, incredible that it is bound to leave almost every reader with the feeling that they haven't lived at all … I loved every word of it."
—The New Yorker
"House of Prayer No. 2 is a surreal and poetic memoir about faith, self-discovery and forming an artistic inner life."
—Fredericksburg Free Lance–Star
"Mark Richard’s memoir, House of Prayer No.2, is the finest book he’s ever written. No one writes like him. His prose style is both hammerblow and shrapnel. He has written the book of his life."
"Hot damn! And Glory be! Both. This is a wonderful book."
—Roy Blount, Jr.
"The precision of the descriptions is marvelous in this memoir of growing up with infirmity. The depth of Richard’s heart is profound, exhilarating, frightening, instructive. House of Prayer No. 2 is a work of high art."
"In this unconventional memoir, we see the yearning of the artist transfigured into faith—an authentic faith that is both struggled for and struggled against in the midst of ceaseless and necessary doubt. Mark Richard says important things about finding one's way, about love in action, about being a father, and he does so with the precision and grace of an artisan from another time. This is some of the finest writing you will ever read."
"If Mark Richard could not write, you could not read this. Since he can, you can’t not read it. It is unreal, and Mr. Richard has the wit to make it real."