Laury A. Egan is the author of Fog and Other Stories, published in 2012 by StoneGarden.net, and two books of poetry, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger (2009) and Beneath the Lion’s Paw (2011), issued by FootHills Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in over 30 literary journals and numerous anthologies. Web site: www.lauryaegan.com
The Outcast Oracle is about a teenage girl, but it’s a book for any adult who remembers the traumas of adolescence and the shock of discovering that religion is not all it’s cracked up to be.
On the shores of New York’s Lake Ontario in 1959, 14-year-old Charlene Beth Whitestone has been deserted by her parents, leaving her in the custody of her grandfather, C.B. Although he loves Charlie, he is a charming con artist, moonshiner, and religious fraud who inducts her into his various enterprises yet also encourages her dreams of becoming a writer. When C.B. suddenly dies, Charlie is left alone and must use her wits and resourcefulness to take charge of her life, all the while wrestling with the morality of continuing her grandfather’s schemes. When a handsome cowboy-stranger, Blake, arrives, he insinuates himself into C.B.’s religion business and into Charlie’s heart. Despite her resistance, Blake mounts a lucrative PR campaign, touting Charlie as an “oracle” and arranging for her to perform miracles.
“It’s this highly literary, easily accessible writing that lifts this story to the very top of the heap,” the Kirkus review concluded.
The author of The Outcast Oracle delivers 23 stories dealing with the metaphorical concept of fog as a state produced by grief, mental illness, love, anger, religious fanaticism, dementia, pain, prejudice, or dreams and how the human being refracts reality through these diffused prisms. Protagonists struggle with physical and psychological distortions that lead them down problematic paths, whether due to jealousy or desire in the case of lovers or hypothermia experienced by a fallen mountain climber.
Shortlisted for the prestigious UK Saboteur prize.