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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended November 03, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 31Oct00

By Signature Books Press Release

Riptide is Finalist in Utah Book Award, 2000

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The Utah Center for the Book and the Utah Arts Council have announced the finalists for the Utah Book Award 2000. The award will be presented Friday, November 17 at the Salt Lake Public Library, beginning at 7 p.m. in the third floor auditorium, 209 East 500 South.

The Utah Book Award recognizes the three best books of the year by Utah authors. The award is presented in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The nonfiction finalists are: Chip Ward for "Canaries on the Rim," Terry Tempest Williams for "Leap," and Harvey Frauenglass for "Cidermaster of Rio Oscuro." The finalists in poetry are Kolette Montague for "Easing Into Light" and Judy Jordan for "Carolina Ghost Woods."

This year, the award for fiction has two finalists: Marion Smith for "Riptide," and Helen Papanikolas for "The Time of the Little Black Bird." Riptide was published this past spring by Signature Books.

Last year, the award went to Rob Van Wagoner for his novel, "Dancing Naked," published by Signature Books. "Dancing Naked" received critical and national acclaim for its quality of writing and originality as the first "great Mormon novel." The book probes controversial themes and feelings, in exquisite style and poetic language.

"Riptide" too, explores controversial themes, delving into the darker side of Utah culture. Smith probes the moral dilemmas created by child sexual abuse and its real effects on lives, while also discussing larger issues in Mormon culture --like religious belief, traditional values, and loss of faith. In a meditative, stream-of-consciousness narrative evoking memoir, she reveals the complex dilemmas faced by a Utah family whose children are sexually abused by a family member.

"Riptide" is a fictionalized version of a true story about a Mormon family in Salt Lake. From the moment you begin reading "Riptide," you enter the mind of Laurel Greer and don't want to leave. Laurel's inner world is a familiar place, yet a strange escape into a troubled existence. The narrative takes a journey through the mind's landscape as Laurel herself drives through Utah hoping to leave it and its traumas behind. The writing is sensitive, colorful and vivid, the insights provocative and original, the style contemporary without being trendy or self-conscious.

Laurel probes disillusionment and devastation while searching and struggling for some kind of psychological resolution. "Riptide" explores the wrenching urges lurking inside of a woman's pain, honestly excavating the complex layers of belief, suffering and faith. This odyssey within a mother's mind is written in an authentic female voice that confesses the negative side of Mormon culture as well as woman's own nature.

Above all, "Riptide" is a redemptive work. Laurel confronts and confesses the evil in life -- as well as in her own anger, hatred and desire to destroy that which has destroyed her. In this way, she finds redemption as only one can--by knowing and integrating her own dark side. Laurel does the very thing that an abuser cannot do for himself, that is, confess the darkness within.

Marion Smith is a grandmother born and raised in Salt Lake City, whose book takes us on a tour of the unexplored, shadow side of the female Mormon psyche. An expert on child abuse, Marion Smith has a master's degree in psychology, is a former therapist, and co-founder of the Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment Center in Salt Lake.

Smith and the other authors will read from their books on Friday evening, November 17 at the awards ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. The winner will be announced and will be honored with the Utah Book Award in fiction for 2000.

The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress was established by an Act of Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books, reading, libraries and literacy, and to encourage the study of books and print culture as well as a state's unique literary culture.


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See also:
More about "Riptide" at

More about "Leap" at

Dancing Naked
More about "Dancing Naked" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information