The Friday Gospels
By Jenn Ashworth
The tale of an English Mormon family and the day the cracks in their lives yawn into chasms, as savagely funny as it is tragic.
It's Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday and the Leekes are a little unusual: they are Lancastrian Mormons, and this evening their son Gary will return from 2 years as a missionary in Salt Lake City.
His mother is planning a celebratory dinner - with difficulty, since she's virtually housebound with an undiagnosed, embarrassing condition. What she doesn't realise is that the rest of the family - her meek husband, disturbed oldest son, and teenage daughter - have other plans for the evening, each involving drastic and irrevocable action.
As the narrative baton passes from one Leeke to the next, disaster inexorably looms. Except that nothing goes according to plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Giving a fascinating insight into the Mormon way of life, this blackly funny tale of innocence betrayed shows the havoc religion can wreak.
Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Her first novel, A Kind of Intimacy, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. In 2011 her second, Cold Light, was published by Sceptre and she was chosen by BBC's The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. In 2013 her third novel, The Friday Gospels, was published to resounding critical acclaim. She lives in Lancaster with her husband, son and daughter.
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- Publication date:
18 Jul 2013
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Utterly, compulsively readable, [it] could be this award-winning young author's best novel yet. — The Sunday Times
A serious, distinctive and eminently readable story of faith and family; about the demands of the world and the desires of the individual. — Independent on Sunday
Ashworth's most confident work yet and one that strengthens her reputation as an author worth watching. — Sunday Telegraph
A serious novel seriously engaged with big themes. It is also very funny. — Andrew Miller, author of PURE
It is rare to find a novel that is so complex, so damn clever and yet at once readable... a truly exceptional novel. — Helen Walsh, author of BRASS
Jenn Ashworth's The Friday Gospels will make a nicely unsettling poolside read. Brought up in a Mormon family, here she turns her fictional talents to the Church of Latter-day Saints, both its dark and its hilarious sides. — Mary Beard, Summer Reads, Observer
Grim and comic in equal measures, this is an acutely observer account of growing up as a Latter-day Saint in Lancashire — Observer
Ashworth's darkly comic third novel concerns the unravelling of a close-knit Mormon family in Lancashire, and evolves into a sympathetic, forgiving and absorbing portrait of family life. — Daily Telegraph