Introducing Heidi Naylor’s Revolver (and also Happy Birthday to Us)

Cover design by the amazing D Christian Harrison

BCC Press is now one year old. On April 6, 2017, we published our first book, Steven Peck’s magnificent treatise Science the Key to Theology. Since then, we have published seven books and one translation, won awards, changed lives, and brought excellent books into the world. And there is more on its way.

In the coming twelve months, we will bring you exceptional memoirs by David Dollahite, Roger Terry, Keira Sloan Scholz, and Angela Liscom Clayton; Zina Nibley Petersen’s indescribably beautiful (k)Not about Love; Steven Peck’s new novel about climate change, King Lear, and killer robots; The Book of Abish, Mette Harrison’s sequel to The Book of Laman. And, also by Mette, an incredible new book about Vampires in the Temple. Yes, we’re going there. Vampires. In. The. Temple. And coming very soon, we will bring you the Little Purple Book of Mormon Women for Ethical Government. And so much more.

But today, we are going to give you an amazing present for our birthday: Heidi Naylor’s Revolver, a collection of powerful stories that sit on the cutting edge of Mormon Literature.

If you don’t know Heidi’s work, you should probably be deeply ashamed of yourself. She is a professor at Boise State University. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Idaho Review, Portland, Sunstone, Dialogue, Cimarron Review, and the Jewish Journal. She has received a fellowship in literature from the Idaho Commission on the Arts, fiction awards from Sunstone, SunstoneNew Letters, and The Chariton Review–and a Pushcart Prize nomination.

In other words, she freaking rocks.

And her stories rock too. They are well crafted (boy are they well crafted), they are thoughtful, and they matter. Here are just three examples of what you will encounter in these ten wonderful fictions:

    • The title story, “Revolver,” is set in modern Idaho and the Russian front in World War II. Hal Klink is a German war veteran who immigrated to the United States, settled in Idaho, and built a comfortable life and an American family. But he also has horrible memories of the things he did, and saw. As he reflects on his life at a Memorial Day celebration, Naylor weaves his life and his memories together, leading up to an encounter with his daughter, which contains this stunning reflection.

      He wants to tell her what he’s not thought of for years: forget beauty. Find it somewhere else. Look at the broad, changing sky, hear the rustling leaves in the night, touch the cool silver of the teakettle. Adjust the lace at the window. Look no further, please God; don’t look beyond these. He wants her to understand that beauty gets a woman traded, possessed, passed around for a pack of cigarettes, for a dented can of peaches. For nothing. (6)

    • One of the most Mormon stories in the volume is “The Home Teacher,” which plays with two archetypes that Mormons will find both familiar and uncomfortable. The main character, Brock Hartman, is assigned to home teach a poor family who wants financial assistance from the Church and has come to expect that it will come regularly and unconditionally. As he works with this family, following the “official program” and decreasing dependence, he becomes increasingly frustrated and takes refuge in a series of memories from his mission, when the gospel worked the way it was supposed to work and changed someone’s life. Naylor gives us no easy answers—no dramatic moments of revelation or sudden insight—just a deep and poignant meditation on what it means to succeed in “saving” someone, what it means to fail, and what it takes for the gospel to change a life.

 

  • Heidi at home, trying hard to look like a regular person instead of the best thing to happen to Mormon literature since the translation of the Book of Mormon

    In the beautiful story “Jane’s Journey,” Naylor engages in the quintessential Mormon activity of genealogy—of tracing an ancestor’s life and trying to make sense of the story. This gives us a family history worthy of the name: a good faith attempt to weave the facts that can be gleaned from Church records, old letters, and grave stones into something tangible, real, and human. In the process, Naylor shows us the dramatic power of something that so many of us have managed to turn into a clerical responsibility: reaching back into the lives of our ancestors and uncovering—and telling—their stories.

There is more. Lots, lots more. We could go on and on, but we don’t just want you to read this post. We want you to read Revolver. Just this once. It won’t hurt, we promise. And you’ll be popular.

Comments

  1. Man, what a year. I’m so proud of these books, and so honored to be associated with these authors. And REVOLVER is so, so good. And that cover! Christian Harrison did an exceptional job.

  2. The cover is of such good report that I’m tempted to judge the book by that alone.

  3. Heidi’s stories are great, and it looks like Christian Harrison just set a new high bar for himself.

  4. Since we’re singing Heidi Naylor’s praises here, I will add my own: I was in Heidi’s stake for about 10 years and you would never, never know from her day-to-day interactions that she’s so accomplished. She is just “one of the gals.” To me, this increases her cred; she’s the real deal.

  5. Heidi Naylor says:

    Thank you BCC Press, for giving my stories such a beautiful home! They’d been wandering and in creation for the space of many years.

  6. Ever thought about a subscription service? Looking at the list, past, present and future, I’d be down for one of each. And then think about gifts.