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
"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.