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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Scholar of Moab Paperback – November 8, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review


“Steven Peck has imagined a world ever-so-slightly tweaked from this real one, but—well, why wouldn’t conjoined twins have an independent consciousness, bumblebees be more dependent on faith than wings, and Einstein sing German nursery rhymes? The Scholar of Moab explores the otherworld of nature, imagination, and mind.”
—Brooke Williams, Halflives: Reconciling Work and Wildness

"It’s satire of the best sort: biting what it loves, snuggling up to what it hates."
—Scott Abbott, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Director of Integrated Studies, Utah Valley University

"Peck moves easily from the lyrical to the grotesque, and sets his multi-voiced tale in the ideal place: Moab, Utah--where red rocks and surprising arches provide the ideal backdrop for anything in or out of the world, including space ships and kidnapped babies."
—Margaret Blair Young, President: Association for Mormon Letters

"Peck convincingly merges the genre of magical realism with American West fiction by invoking the power of personal testimony—not his own, but by presenting the recorded testimony of his characters in letters, journals, poetry, and interview transcripts. Using these disparate voices, Peck concocts a strange and tragicomic brew of naivety, philosophy, faith, discovery, and loss."
—Blair Dee Hodges, Standing on the Promises, The Association for Mormon Letters

About the Author

Steven L. Peck is an evolutionary ecologist at Brigham Young University where he teaches the philosophy of biology. His scientific work has appeared in numerous publications. As the Renaissance Man he is,Steve has won a fistful of awards for both his poetry and science fiction work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Torrey House Press (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937226026
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937226022
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Scholar of Moab is a hilarious, otherwordly, beautifully strange, and strangely familiar novel, like nothing I have ever read before. In my fruitless search for an adequate comparison, I could only say it's philosophy meets satire meets poetry meets cosmology meets absurdity. For all of its indirectness and fantastical wit, it conveys a seriousness of tone about life in a small western town and about the strangeness of human existence with more humanity, humor, and wonder than most anything else in print. It had no right to survive its outsize ambition, but it does, wonderfully. Read it and maybe you will know what I mean.
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Format: Paperback
Please read this book. Because it is hilarious, because it is tragic, because it is magic.

It doesn't read like your typical novel. The story is told by an unnamed "Redactor" who finds a crazy collection of documents in some old curmudgeon's trailer buried under a "mountain of filth and garbage." These documents include a journal by a dead fellow named Hyrum Thayne, a scientific article on "bumblebee faith," a photograph of cowboy conjoined twins, letters and poetry by a nature lover named Dora Tanner, leftovers from a dismantled Webster's dictionary, and other odds and ends. From this hodgepodge the Redactor pieces together clues about Hyrum Thayne's rise to scholarly heights, and his ultimately explosive death. (Not a spoiler, don't worry.)

The main document of the story is Hyrum Thayne's journal. I laughed out loud so many times as Hyrum expressed his frustrations in his own terribly-misspelled words. The other documents are striking in their individuality. How did Peck manage to capture so many diverse voices so convincingly? For instance, letters from the Babcock's(the conjoined twins) relate their cowboy exploits, as well as their eventual Ivy league education. One brother slowly slips into mental illness while the other helplessly witnesses his brother's descent.

This is the most engaging Mormon novel I've read since Levi Peterson's "The Backslider," though its approach is radically different. Peck convincingly merges the genres of magical realism and American West fiction by invoking the power of personal testimony--not his own, but those of his characters through their letters, journals, poetry, and interview transcripts. Using these disparate voices, Peck concocts a strange and tragicomic brew of naivety, philosophy, faith, discovery, and loss.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not your standard Mormon Lit fare. There are no easy morals, no faith promoting rumors, no saccharine padding of the soul's fall. Instead, The Scholar of Moab is a carnival-worthy not to say grotesque, kluge of the deviant, the unexpected, the spiritual, the criminal, the ghostly, the alien, and the bizarre, in the red sands of southeastern Utah. A chronicler attempts to piece together key and mysterious events in the final career of Hyrum Thayne, the Scholar of Moab -- Jack Mormon, audodidact, fighter of communists possessed by the ghosts of Gadianton robbers, adulterer, companion of a two-headed cowboy (containing three souls), and father of an illegitimate child possibly kidnapped by space aliens.
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Format: Paperback
Steven Peck's The Scholar of Moab is quite unlike nearly anything else you might read in contemporary fiction. It is perhaps *the* American novel that captures the essence of the Neo-Baroque tropes of hybridity and syncretism, blending science fiction, magical realism, western themes, religion, philosophy, neurophysiology, historiography, romance, poetry (and probably other genres that I didn't have an eye for). Perhaps the best description of the novel is "fullness"--not simply in the scope of of motifs covered, but in the overall aesthetic, the sense that it is brimming with the variegated life of a literary ecological world.

Just as appealing is that the novel is prototypically Mormon. It subtly captures the real world materialism of Mormon thought and practice without elevating Mormon themes in any explicit or overtly recognizable way. The main character and some of his inner circle are Mormons, yet Peck deploys Mormonism through the very structure of his narrative delivery, through a redactor who recovers long-buried documents and "translates" them by assembling them in such a way that multiple stories are revealed. This immanent yet all-encompassing material deployment of the quintessential American religion makes The Scholar of Moab perhaps the epitome of the Mormon novel. Its saturated encyclopedism claims the essence of the Neo-Baroque in American literature. The novel is both thoroughly enjoyable and more than capable of being a worthy object of American literary studies.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There’s a kind of…I don’t know, let’s call it “craziness,” but it’s not quite that…that seems so pervasive in the desert southwest. Maybe it’s something about the desert, the mountains, the wide-open skies, or the type of people drawn to small towns in the middle of nowhere. Who knows. But if you grew up in the desert southwest, you probably know what I’m talking about. Steven L. Peck, the author of this funny, intelligent, and imaginative book The Scholar of Moab, knows what I’m talking about.

The Scholar of Moab follows Hyrum Thayne, an unlearned deep-thinking Moabite with a lot of time on his hands, who, after much study and contemplation to determine the meaning of “Dickensian life,” feels called to become a grand scholar. But Hyrum immediately runs into practical problems. He can’t quite keep up with the obscure sesquipedalian vocabulary of scholarly conversation, and he isn’t comfortable standing for as long as it takes to look up all the words he needs to learn from the library dictionary, which he is not allowed to remove from the pedestal and read on the couch. So, Hyrum concocts a flawless plan: break into the library early Sunday morning, steal the dictionary, and cover his tracks by burning half the library’s resource books and spray-painting communist graffiti on the wall.

This sets off a firestorm of rumor about town. Before church, the citizenry has already concluded that the communists have joined forces with the ghosts of the Gadianton Robbers--a gang of thieving and murdering baddies of Book of Mormon fame--to scourge their town. Not long after, the town folk also conclude through revelation that only Hyrum can save them from the inscrutable, bloodthirsty double-menace.
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