The Days Are Gods

The Days Are Gods

Liz Stephens

American Lives Series

216 pages

Paperback

March 2013

978-0-8032-4354-5

$18.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

“I called the bishop of the local ward, and he put the date of your move into the church bulletin, and these gentlemen came to help,” Brady, the real estate agent, says. Welcome to Wellsville, Utah. Good-bye, L.A.

Liz Stephens has come from Los Angeles to Utah for graduate school, and her brief stint working on a Taco Bell commercial is not much in the way of preparation for taking on the real West. In The Days Are Gods Stephens chronicles a move that is far more than a shift in geographical coordinates. With husband and dogs in tow, she searches for an authentic connection to this new community, all the while knowing that as an outsider she will never really belong. And yet precisely as an outsider, Stephens has a unique perspective on belonging, one that colors her accounts of attending her first small-town rodeo, living in the thick of a thriving Latter Day Saints religious community, raising goats in her laundry room, and observing the town’s racialized Founder’s Day battle reenactments. In her frank and particular way, Stephens shows how the culture of memory, as our inheritance, offers a balance to our brief attention spans and our brief lives.

Author Bio

Liz Stephens received her PhD in creative nonfiction. A winner of the Western Literature Association’s Frederick Manfred Award and a finalist for the Annie Dillard Creative Nonfiction Award, her work has been published in Fourth Genre, Brevity, Western American Literature, and South Dakota Review.

Praise

"Stephens' lyric, visually detailed prose will remind readers that building a home can take more than just time; it takes a sense of belonging, of roots that stretch deep below the topsoil."—Kirkus


"With her own twist, Liz Stephens joins fellow writers Terry Tempest Williams and Cheryl Strayed on the trail of women writing the American West. In this fine debut memoir—wrought in language that is witty, melodic, and wise—Stephens insinuates herself among the landscape in such a way that the reader may gather pieces of more than one puzzle."Geri Lipschultz, We Wanted to Be Writers

"Filled with rich description and personal stories, Stephen's focused memoir recounts days of important self-discovery."—Rick Roche, Booklist

"The Days are Gods is a book with a lot of heart, and it’s a model for those seeking to turn their own experiences into memoir."—Narrative

"The sense of place created by Stephens is notable as is her nonhysterical treatment of the ways and lives of her new Mormon neighbors. Those who dream of a practical escape from the rat race of modern life will find a kindred spirit here."—Library Journal

"[Stephens] paints an inspiring picture of a simpler time, a place we all yearn for, a place to put down roots, to become a part of the history and the stories, and to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of what home means."—Laura Friedkin, San Francisco Book Review/ Sacramento Book Review

Table of Contents

Prologue

Part 1. Los Angeles
Hot Air
So Manifest It, Man

Part 2. Utah
Utah Looked Like This
Checking Fence
Wary
Audell's Carpenter's and Builder's Guide
Powwow at the Ball Field
Winter
Suddenly, What You Do Is What You Do
Table of Contents
Process
The Magic Trick
Groundwork
Gardening
The History of Other People
Spring
The Box C
Student Teaching
Memorial Day
Yoked

Part 3. This Is the Place
That Bright Summer
Gus
Chicken Lessons
Heavy Is the Crown
The Night Life around Here
The Windows of Wellsville
Notches

Part 4. The Memory Cairns
Honey
The Local
Finding Oklahoma
Oh Country Roads
Wednesday Night Lights across from the Stop-n-Go
Avoiding Jackson Hole
The Reenactors
Lots Four and Five, Range One West of the Salt Lake Meridian
In My Defense
Vision upon Vision
Cowboy Up
Founders' Day
Monument to Belief, Middle of Nowhere, Utah

Part 5. Culling Season
Shooting Stars Lit Up the Yard

Acknowledgments

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