Small Treasons

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With writing that is both devastating and tender, Mark Powell (The Sheltering) brings his acclaimed eye to an American marriage on the verge of rupture, spinning an all-too-current tale of the world we live in and the world we fear—and how we may not be able to tell the two apart—perfect for fans of Adam Johnson’s Fortune Smiles and Denis Johnson’s The Laughing Monsters.

Tess Maynard is coming apart. At home with her three young children in her husband’s Georgia hometown, people keep asking if she’s depressed, if she and John are okay.

Secretly, she’s becoming obsessed with the war on terror—an ISIS beheading video in particular. Something about the victim’s captivity on the computer screen resonates with her. Something inside of her demands endless prayers for a world gone mad.

The carefully constructed life of her husband is likewise beginning to unravel. Now a college counselor, John’s former life bears persistently into the present. Once a contractor at a CIA black site that interrogated suspected terrorists—and one innocent civilian—he is given a choice by the Justice Department: either help with a problem in the homeland, or they investigate.

Forced by an old colleague to spy on a new one, John’s experiences abroad come home to roost in Georgia. For his wife, for his family, he goes along with the game. But just as he and Tess work to salvage their life together, the world comes between them in the form of a young man slowly being radicalized by the professor John is reporting on.

In a moment Tess imagined and never wanted to see, the intersection of their three lives is as devastating as the bomber’s explosion of hate and metal, and as inevitable as the battle between powers great and personal.
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About the author

Mark Powell is the author of four previous novels, including The Sheltering. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and in 2014 was a Fulbright Fellow to Slovakia. In 2009, he received the Chaffin Award for contributions to Appalachian literature. He holds degrees from Yale Divinity School, the University of South Carolina, and The Citadel. He lives in the mountains of North Carolina, where he teaches at Appalachian State University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Jun 6, 2017
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9781507203392
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“'You set yourself up as judge, jury, and executioner,’ Pamela had said, but that was wrong: you set yourself up as angel, and await the word of God.” Luther Redding lost his job, and almost lost his wife, Pamela, and teenaged daughters Katie and Lucy, when the real estate bubble burst in Florida. Now he pilots a Reaper drone over the mountains of Afghanistan from a command center in the bowels of Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base, studying a target’s pattern of life and awaiting the command to end that life. Meanwhile Bobby Rosen has returned home from his tours in Iraq to a broken marriage and an estranged son, his promising military career cut short in a moment of terrible violence in a Sadr City marketplace. As the tales of Luther and Bobby unfold, Mark Powell masterfully engages with the vexing, bifurcated lives of combatants in the global war on terror, those who are simultaneously here and there and thus never fully freed from the life-and-death chaos of the battlefield. As Bobby sets off on a drug-fueled road trip with his brother Donny, newly released from prison and consumed by his own inescapable impulses, a sudden death in the Redding household sends Luther’s daughter Katie spiraling into grief and self-destruction. Soon the lives of the Reddings and the Rosens intersect as the collateral damage from the war on terror sends these families into a rapid descent of violence and moral ambiguity that seems hauntingly familiar to Bobby while placing Katie in a position much like her father's—more removed witness than active participant in the bloody war unfolding in front of her. Overarching questions of faith and redemption clash with the rough-hewn realities of terror and loss, all to explosive ends in Powell’s dark vision of modern Americana. Novelist Ron Rash has deemed Powell “the best Appalachian novelist of his generation.” In this, his fourth novel, Powell broadens the southern backdrop of his earlier work into a sprawling thriller taking readers from the Middle East to Charleston, southern Georgia, Tampa, Miami, New Orleans, and into the storied American West. In its themes, perspectives, and pacing, The Sheltering recalls the work of Robert Stone, Jim Harrison, and Ben Fountain while further establishing Powell as a unique voice capable of interrogating unfathomable truths with a beauty and cohesion of language that challenges our assumptions of the human spirit.
“The best Appalachian novelist of his generation.”
—Ron Rash, author of Serena and The Cove

"The Dark Corner is one of the most riveting and beautifully written novels that I have ever read. Trouble drives the story, as it does in all great fiction, but grace, that feeling of mercy that all men hunger for, is the ultimate subject, and that's just part of the reason that Mark Powell is one of America's most brilliant writers."
—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time and Knockemstiff

“Mark Powell’s third novel powerfully tackles the ongoing curses of drugs, real estate development, veterans’ plights, and other regional cultural banes that plague an Appalachia still very much alive and with us as its own chameleon-like animal. Brimming with fury and beauty, The Dark Corner is a thing wrought to be feared and admired.”
—Casey Clabough, author of Confederado

“Powell’s work is so clearly sourced to the wellspring of all spiritual understanding—this physical world...He is heir to the literary lineage of Melville, Conrad, Flannery O’Connor, Denis Johnson, and Robert Stone.”
—Pete Duval, author of Rear View


A troubled Episcopal priest and would-be activist, Malcolm Walker has failed twice over—first in an effort to shock his New England congregants out of their complacency and second in an attempt at suicide. Discharged from the hospital and haunted by images of the Iraq War and Abu Ghraib, he heads home to the mountains of northwestern South Carolina, the state’s “dark corner,” where a gathering storm of private grief and public rage awaits him.
Malcolm’s life soon converges with people as damaged in their own ways as he is: his older brother, Dallas, a onetime college football star who has made a comfortable living in real-estate development but is now being drawn ever more deeply into an extremist militia; his dying father, Elijah, still plagued by traumatic memories of Vietnam and the death of his wife; and Jordan Taylor, a young, drug-addicted woman who is being ruthlessly exploited by Dallas’s viperous business partner, Leighton Clatter. As Malcolm tries to restart his life, he enters into a relationship with Jordan that offers both of them fleeting glimpses of heaven, even as hellish realities continue to threaten them.
In The Dark Corner, Mark Powell confronts crucial issues currently shaping our culture: environmentalism and the disappearance of wild places, the crippling effects of wars past and present, drug abuse, and the rise of right-wing paranoia. With his skillful plotting, feel for place, and gift for creating complex and compelling characters, Powell evokes a world as vivid and immediate as the latest news cycle, while at the same time he offers a nuanced reflection on timeless themes of violence, longing, redemption, faith, and love.

MARK POWELL is the author of two previous novels published by the University of Tennessee Press, Prodigals and the Peter Taylor Prize–winning Blood Kin. The recipient of National Endowment for the Arts and Breadloaf Writers’ Conference fellowships, as well as the Chaffin Award for fiction, he is an assistant professor of English at Stetson University.

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