Elders: A Novel by Ryan McIlvain

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Read Elders: A Novel Online Free - A glorious debut that T.C. Boyle calls "powerful and deeply moving" that follows two young Mormon missionaries in Brazil and their tense, peculiar friendship.

Elder McLeod—outspoken, surly, a brash American—is nearing the end of his mission in Brazil. For nearly two years he has spent his days studying the Bible and the Book of Mormon, knocking on doors, teaching missionary lessons—“experimenting on the word.” His new partner is Elder Passos, a devout, ambitious Brazilian who found salvation and solace in the church after his mother’s early death. The two men are at first suspicious of each other, and their work together is frustrating, fruitless. That changes when a beautiful woman and her husband offer the missionaries a chance to be heard, to put all of their practice to good use, to test the mettle of their faith.  But before they can bring the couple to baptism, they must confront their own long-held beliefs and doubts, and the simmering tensions at the heart of their friendship.
            A novel of unsparing honesty and beauty, Elders announces Ryan McIlvain as a writer of enormous talent.

Title : Elders: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0307955699
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 pages


Jeanette rated it ★★★☆☆

May 10, 2013

The plot isn't particularly compelling. It's a lot of mission-speak and knocking on doors and arguing over church doctrine. But McIlvain writes well, and the book is interesting if you look at it from a non-fiction perspective. Elder McLeod, the doubter, is probably a pretty close match for the a...

Jessica rated it ★★★★★

December 01, 2015

I spent most of my life in the Mormon church. I'm also a serious reader. And it's always been strange to me that these two parts of my life didn't come together. There was simply no "good" Mormon fiction. There was bad fiction by Mormons for Mormons. There were a small number of successful Mormon...

Elizabeth rated it ★★★☆☆

August 05, 2013

This podcast led me to this book: http://www.npr.org/2013/04/04/1761636... The story itself is fairly anti-climatic and unsatisfying. A newly converted elder and a non-believer elder. As companions go, it was never going to work. But the writing. Oh, the writing. And the details. The little bits o...

Isaac rated it ★★★☆☆

March 19, 2013

I was excited to find this title though the author's interview published in the SL Tribune. Fiction about Mormons has little legacy to stand on, with quality production mostly in film. There has been a fair amount of good fiction written by Mormons about other topics, and a stunningly famous body...

Roger rated it ★★★★★

November 03, 2016

Ryan McIlvain’s debut novel Elders is a remarkably candid and wholehearted exploration of one young man’s spiritual crisis and another’s attempt to uphold the sanctity of Christ’s teachings. As a Mormon missionary planted in Carinha, Brazil, Elder Seth McLeod struggles to overcome the vacuous deg...

Robert rated it ★★★★★

July 07, 2016

Wow. In all the years I've been reading and doing my small part to nurture fiction that is both Mormon and yet not constrained by the didacticism that seems to be an inherent part of insider Mormon art, I've hoped for a new Mormon aesthetics, one that is unafraid to embrace the internals of Mormo...

Joshua rated it ★★★☆☆

April 22, 2013

Much of McIlvain’s Elders provides a nostalgic return for anyone who has served an LDS mission in Brazil. In many parts of his narrative, McIlvain does a good job describing the missionary-companion relationship (i.e., between Elder McLeod and Elder Passos); the missionary-investigator relationsh...

Braeden rated it ★★★☆☆

May 25, 2013

Being a former LDS missionary myself, I don't really see how someone who did not serve a mission would enjoy this book. It is drenched with Missionary culture, lingo, and anxiety. Personally, I enjoyed Elders a lot. I could relate to many of the events, and especially the wide variety of characte...

Shannon rated it ★★★★☆

February 20, 2013

Seeing as we're going with a religious theme here, let me start with a confession: I totally judge books by their covers and Elders is a prime example. I think this cover is brilliant. So, does the novel live up to the cover? It comes pretty close. Elders follows McLeod and Passos, a pair of Morm...

missy rated it ★★★★☆

August 07, 2013

I have spent so much time thinking about the complexities of writing about insular subcultures: the tricky line between losing an out-group reader in a sea of culturally-relevant lingo, and overexplaining details to the point of tedium. I think it's such a hard line to walk without coming across...

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