Guide The Scholar of Moab

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  1. The Scholar of Moab by Steven L. Peck | Torrey House Press
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The Scholar of Moab by Steven L. Peck | Torrey House Press

Peck gives a virtuoso performance in writing in these different voices. The characters are slowly revealed through the course of the book. Dora at first appears to be a crazy poet, but by the end of the book we see her as probably the most trustworthy of all the characters. Peck's book is an object lesson in the use of dramatic irony.

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The book's surrealism and multi-voice format allow the exploration of a host of themes, such as the nature of consciousness a specialism of the conjoined cowboy scholars , religious and scientific belief, and the relationship between religion and science. The book is grounded in Mormonism. The book is set in the small-town mormonism and gently satirizes the faith and attitudes of that community. But it was clear that this is a world in which people can believe in alien abductions,communist conspiracies and all sorts of hokum. A little before these events, Hyrum befriends a poet and two conjoined, highly educated cowboys.

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The different voices of the varied cast are distinct and caricatured. Despite the humorous undertones, the elements of magical realism leave a feeling in the reader of wonder and suspicion at the possibilities of everyday life. Magical realism is a genre that features strange coincidences, supernatural events and creatures like talking cats but set in the "real" world.

The unusual characters — conjoined twins — and strange occurrences — a baby may have been abducted by aliens — of Peck's book make it typical of the genre. Peck, an evolutionary ecologist at Brigham Young University where he teaches the philosophy of biology, manages to poke fun at LDS culture without making it the focus of the novel. The novel's portrayal of faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Moab is a bit two-dimensional, but more by comic necessity than malice.

A few swear words and large words make the book most appropriate for adults and older teens. Fans of magical realism and Western settings would also find much to their liking. Skip to content.

Scholar of Moab

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