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For week ended January 16, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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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 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 for comment.

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."


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