The Mormon Candidate – A Novel
Avraham Azrieli’s The Mormon Candidate is part thriller, part mystery, part love story, and part religious interrogation. Azrieli’s novel maintains an excellent balance between each segment of his story – including longer scenes detailing rituals and memories, while also keeping the reader engaged not only with the current mystery, but the life and progression of the protagonist’s life as well. Though I found the dialogue awkward in moments, the plot pushes you forward and there is never a dull moment.
It was, of course, perfect timing to publish a novel about a Mormon presidential candidate during a presidential race of similar circumstances. Azrieli’s representation of the LDS Church and its members reads a bit like how the Ancient Greeks would probably feel about any modern interpretation of their rituals and behaviors. What could possibly be jarring for a member of the Church – or confusing for someone who is not – is the slight mishandling of certain jargon and specific details about the Church and the people in it. For example, the difference between “Family Home Night” (Azrieli) and “Family Home Evening” seems to merely be a syntax issue – but in fact is the kind of slight slip in terminology that only those in the know would even recognize. (Which, to be honest, was worthy more of a chuckle than any outright anger.) It’s a hard line to balance, coming from the outside of the culture and attempting to present it in as factual and honest way as possible. Certain aspects of the religion that I know to be important (as someone who was raised in the Church as a child) were addressed in ways that maybe a current Church member may not in such a specific manner while speaking aloud. No representation of a subculture like this is ever going to be one hundred percent accurate – either from an objective viewpoint or from the inside. Azrieli’s obvious interest and desire to be accurate is clear and should be applauded.
What kept this novel interesting, for me, was how – in the end – the mystery, the intrigue, and the plot line specifically dealt with the behavior of politicians – the LDS Church was merely a new and interesting site upon which Azrieli could create a rather unique setting for this very standard tale.
|Page Count||374 pages|
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