Summarized by Kent Larsen
Utah Gets Naked, Much to Signature's Delight
PW Daily for Booksellers 11Jan00 A4
By Judy Quinn
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The first novel by 35-year-old Mormon Robert
Hodgson Van Wagoner, "Dancing Naked" has hit #1 on Amazon.com for the
state of Utah, according to Publisher Weekly's PW Daily for Booksellers.
The novel tells of a Mormon professor confronting his own past and his
homophobia after the death of his 15-year-old son.
The book's publisher, Signature Books of Salt Lake City, is delighted
that a novel addressing gay issues would sell well in Utah. The book has
also won the new 1999 Utah Book of the Year award, the first award by
the newly established Utah Center for the Book. Signature says that the
book's sales are similar to that of "The Backslider," the classic Mormon
novel, considered by some the finest Mormon novel ever written.
PW Daily also reports that LDS Church owned Deseret Book is not carrying
the novel in its stores. Deseret Book didn't return calls by PW asking
According to PW Daily, the Salt Lake Tribune praised the book as "a
great Mormon novel" as well as one of the best books of the year. "It
explores middle-class American culture through a prism of Mormon sexual
misunderstandings. Using sometimes lyrical language, Van Wagoner digs
into the depths of his protagonist's psyche, in the process revealing
truths that make the professor and many readers uncomfortable. Like all
great literature, this isn't comfort food."