Read The Brunist Day of Wrath by Robert Coover Free Online
Book Title: The Brunist Day of Wrath|
The author of the book: Robert Coover
Edition: Dzanc Books
Date of issue: December 2nd 2014
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 986 KB
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Reader ratings: 5.1
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It started in April last year in a small bookstore here in San Francisco. Prior to reading excerpts from The Brunist Day of Wrath, Robert Coover told the small crowd that he returned to the subject matter of his first book The Origin of the Brunists, some four decades later, as his need to respond to the election of “little Bush” and the neocon vanguard sweeping into American government. I imagine over the ten years that it took him to write this novel Coover would weep and gnash teeth that the world-rending realities of the Bush administration could barely keep pace with any apocalyptic fictional musings he could put to paper. For we have such a sorry history of what happens when you combine fundamentalist religious beliefs with government, and the realities often outpace the fictions.
Although Wrath was published nearly half a century after Origin, the first novel feels more like a prequel than this one its sequel. This book is Coover’s Hamlet, his David Copperfield. He’s constructed something monumental in these 1,000 pages that serve as a timeless reminder, as only a work of fiction can, that the stories we choose to believe can be deadly. Every major world religion comes packed with apocalyptic endings to this world; attempting to have rational discourse with a true believer about the dangerous lunacy of these prophecies is a no-win prospect. Fundamentalism is at its heart a dialectically unassailable position. I know this because for 30+ years I was a true believer.
Borrowing the thought from Barnes, I don’t believe in God, but sometimes I miss him. The husk of my discarded fundamental Christian faith occasionally gives me phantom aches the way I imagine amputees might feel about a lost limb. I grew up in a household where words like eschatology, narthex and ecumenical were bandied about in normal conversation. I’ve laid hands on a sick sister with the rest of my family while she was anointed with oil by a minister, all of us praying for her healing. I’ve fasted countless times, converted the lost, tithed to the church and yes, prayed for the end of the world and for Christ to come into his kingdom. I left that world for good more than a decade ago - Wrath is the first thing I have read that created a triggering event that made me feel so very depressingly awful about that prior life. I’m not ashamed of the person I used to be, I’m just now so much more aware of how shabby those beliefs are seeing them on display.
Coover’s inclusion of all types of people on the faith spectrum is one of the things I love about this work. He inhabits the minds of dozens of West Condoners and writes beautiful sentences describing every subject from the Brunists to seeking employment in the dying town. Sally Elliott is the star of the book; we enter into this world-gone-mad via her light touch cynicism and genuine good hearted nature. She’s trying to figure this all out, just as the reader is, and she wants to do so without turning her atheism into just another religion. It is beautiful to watch her actions exemplify all of the better tenets of Christian charity and brotherly love without the world crushing side effects of that religion.
Coover shows us throughout the work what our brand of Americana does to our souls. The reap of our sow is on display at every headline update, every US Weekly turned page. And true, it isn’t just America's brand of scorched earth Christianity that is currently on stage – we have ISIS and countless other religions wanting to tilt the planet towards end-of-days, but responsibility starts at home. Coover isn’t telling us to feed our Bibles to the fire, he’s asking us to be more like Sally Elliott. Because Didion is right, we do tell ourselves stories to live, but we also tell ourselves stories to kill. Until our species has learned how not to do the latter we had better be damned sure we are reading the right stories to live. Stories like The Brunist Day of Wrath.
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Read information about the authorBorn Robert Lowell Coover in Charles City, Iowa, Coover moved with his family early in his life to Herrin, Illinois, where his father was the managing editor for the Herrin Daily Journal. Emulating his father, Coover edited and wrote for various school newspapers under the nom-de-plume “Scoop.” He was also his high-school class president, a school band member, and an enthusiastic supporter of the Cincinnati Reds. In 1949 Coover enrolled in Southern Illinois University, and, after transferring to Indiana University in 1951, earned his bachelor's degree in 1953 with a major in Slavonic languages. While in college, he continued editing student papers, as well as working part-time for his father's newspaper. The day he graduated, Coover received his draft notice and went on to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserve during the Korean War, attaining the rank of lieutenant. Upon his discharge in 1957, Coover devoted himself to fiction. During the summer of that year, he spent a month sequestered in a cabin near the Canadian border, where he studied the work of Samuel Beckett and committed himself to writing serious avant-garde fiction. In 1958, he travelled to Spain, where he reunited with Maria del Pilar Sans-Mallafré, whom he had earlier met while serving a military tour in Europe. The couple married in 1959 and spent the summer touring southern Europe by motorcycle, an experience he described in “One Summer in Spain: Five Poems,” his first published work. Between 1958 and 1961, Coover studied at the University of Chicago, eventually receiving his master's degree in 1965. The Coovers lived in Spain for most of the early 1960s, a time during which Coover began regularly publishing stories in literary magazines, including the Evergreen Review.
In 1966, after the couple returned to the United States, Coover took a teaching position at Bard College in New York. He also published his first novel, The Origin of the Brunists (1966), which won the William Faulkner Award for best first novel. In 1969, Coover won a Rockefeller Foundation grant and published Pricksongs and Descants, his first collection of short fiction. That year, he also wrote, produced, and directed a movie, On a Confrontation in Iowa City (1969). Coover has maintained an interest in film throughout his career. During the early 1970s, Coover published only short stories and drama, including A Theological Position (1972), a collection of one-act plays, all of which were eventually produced for the stage. He also won Guggenheim fellowships in 1971 and 1974, and served as fiction editor for the Iowa Review from 1974 to 1977. By the mid-1970s, Coover had finished his next novel, The Public Burning; it took him more than two years to find a publisher for the work, which was ultimately cited as a National Book Award nominee. Coover received a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1985 and a Rea Award for A Night at the Movies (1987), a collection of short stories. While Coover concentrated primarily on short fiction—with the exception of Gerald's Party—during the 1980s, he produced a series of new novels during the 1990s.
Coover has taught at a number of universities, including the University of Iowa, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Brandeis University, throughout his career. Since 1981 he has been a writer-in-residence and faculty member of the creative writing program at Brown University.
Among the vanguard of American postmodern writers to come of age during the late 1960s, Coover is respected as a vital experimentalist whose challenging work continues to offer insight into the nature of literary creation, narrative forms, and cultural myths. Convinced early in his career that traditional fictional modes were exhausted, Coover has pioneered a variety of inventive narrative techniques, notably complex metafictional structures and ludic pastiches of various genres to satirize contemporary American society and the role of the author. In this wa
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