A Prayer for the Dying A Novel, by O'Nan, Stewart
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- ISBN: 9780312428914 | 031242891X
- Cover: Paperback
- Copyright: 5/26/2009
Set just after the Civil War,A Prayer for the Dyingis the story of a small Wisconsin town gripped by a mysterious, deadly epidemic, and one man desperate to save it. Torn between his loyalty to his family, his faith in God, and his terror of this vicious disease, Jacob Hansen struggles to preserve his sanity amid the chaos and violence around him. Stewart O'Nanis the author of eleven novels, includingSongs for the Missing,Snow Angels, a story collection, and two works of nonfiction. His previous novel,Last Night at the Lobster, was a national bestseller and was nominated for theLos Angeles TimesBook Prize and was named one of the New York Public Library's Books to Remember. In 1996,Grantanamed him one of the twenty Best Young American Novelists. O'Nan lives with his family in Avon, Connecticut. ANew York Times Book ReviewNotable Book of the Year Set in Friendship, Wisconsin, just after the Civil War,A Prayer for the Dyingtells of a horrible epidemic that has gripped the town in a vise of fear and death. Jacob Hansen, Friendship's sheriff, undertaker, and pastor, is soon overwhelmed, though he continues to do what he can. But Jacob cannot control the plague's rapid spread, the panic that takes over Friendship, or his own feelings of despair. Dark, poetic, and chilling,A Prayer for the Dyingexamines the effect of madness and violence on the morality of a once-decent man. "[O'Nan] is a master of voices and the place they resonate from . . . With a shivery economy of means and a dreadful lavishness of effect, Mr. O'Nan advances the . . . growth of the epidemic and the disintegration of Jacob . . . His madness is not all of him; there is a bleak awareness . . . and this is what makesA Prayermore than a brilliant exercise of darkness."--Richard Eder,The New York Times "A fine, terse novel about the circumstantial nature of evil and the terrible fragility of man."--Patrick McGrath,The New York Times Book Review "A cross between Stephen Crane and Stephen King . . . O'Nan is certainly among the strongest American writers of his generation."--The Washington Post Book World "A sad and chilling novel . . . It will make readers shudder and think and marvel at a writer's creation of an alien world that seems so real."--Bob Minzesheimer,USA Today "This urgent, economically told novel grabs you at the start and never lets up. O'Nan's novel is beautiful testimony to profound truths."--Dan Cryer,Newsday "A new masterpiece of American literature."--Dennis Lehane,Entertainment Weekly "A Prayer for the Dyingreads like the amazing, unrelenting love child of Shirley Jackson and Cormac McCarthy. It's twisted proof that God will do worse to test a faithful man than the devil would ever do to punish a sinner."--Chuck Palahniuk "The sleepy agricultural community of Friendship, WI, provides an ideal refuge for Jacob Hansen, a Civil War veteran recovering from the trauma of battle. As if to atone for past sins, Hansen dedicates his life to public service, working as town sheriff, minister, and undertaker. But the quiet life Hansen cherishes is shattered forever when he embalms the corpse of a nameless drifter and inadvertently exposes himself and his neighbors to diphtheria. As sheriff, Hansen quarantines the town and begins burning the homes of those who have died from the disease. The more he tries to help, the worse things become. O'Nan, named one of the best young American novelists by Granta, is a literary chameleon who seems to change his identity with each book. This is a beautifully