BCC Press Introduces Spin, by John Bennion

BCC Press loves John Bennion. He is one of the lions of Mormon literature. His 1991 collection Breeding Leah & Other Stories was one of the first collections of Mormon-is stories to be real literature–you know, the stuff that you can teach to college students and write about for academic journals and be proud that your little subculture of a subculture produces. And his 2000 novel, Falling Toward Heaven joined the ranks of truly top-flight Mormon novels. His more recent books—mystery novels set on the Utah frontier during the waning days of polygamy—are smart, engrossing, and fun (see review here and here).

So, when we heard that John was working on a new book, we pounced on it like . . . well, like a thing that pounces on other things pounces on things. We really wanted to be a part of it.

So, By Common Consent Press proudly presents our newest work of outstanding fiction: John Bennion’s novel Spin. Spin is about many things. Luck and fate, fractal geometry, probabilities, love, redemption, myth, stories, and religion.

But mainly its about Lily Harker, a lapsed-Mormon woman who dared to demand a divorce from her controlling, emotionally abusive, un-lapsed Mormon husband, Nathan. When she does, Nathan proceeds to ruin her financially, reputationally, and every other way he can–including cutting her off from her ten-month-old daughter, Anne. Lily takes Anne and runs away, trying to evade Nathan’s wealth and power and all of the surveillance he can buy.

But Lilly has an unseen advantage. On a lark, she buys an “Executive Decision Maker” in a local Deseret Industries for .50 cents. The decision-maker is actually just a small, functional roulette wheel that generates random numbers. Like the one on the left. But strange things begin to happen. Lily spins the wheel and follows its pointers, and it takes her to her daughter. Every time. For most of the novel, the EDM functions like a Liahona (a comparison that the author makes explict—we’re not just making this stuff up). It shows her where to find Anne, which direction to travel, how long to stay in one place, and everything else that she needs to do to live life on the run with a toddler.

As Lilly has adventures and beats the odds, the author himself (or, at least, a fictionalized author-function who goes by the name of John Bennion) pops in and out of the text to comment on the action, explain what he was thinking when he was writing the story, and explore the themes, great and small, that Lily’s story raises. This authorial commentary (think Tom Jones without the 1200 pages) turns a very good book into a great one. And it foregrounds the question of what fiction can, and cannot do.

And did we mention the illustrations? There are illustrations. Twenty-seven of them, all drawn by John’s daughter, Amy Bennion, who is an awesome artist and professor at the University of North Florida, which is kind of a big deal. We’re just going to drop this picture of death into the right margin and let you go crazy trying to figure out how it fits in.

We’re so sure that you will love Spin that we are going to give you the first two chapters for absolutely free, right here on the BCC blog. We are sure that this book will knock your socks off.



  1. This is great news! Dr. Bennion was generous enough to oversee my honors thesis (a collection of short stories) when I was at BYU and I love the way his writing took both Mormonism and literary fiction seriously. I look forward to reading this novel.

  2. My copy just arrived. I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the recommendation

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