Closing Circles, by R.B. Scott
Closing Circles is a rollicking, brutally candid novel of a young Mormon journalist's attempt to liberate himself from a failed marriage and the confounding influences of his religious culture and family.
New York journalist Jedediah Pratt Russell is the victim of an inexplicable divorce. A loving father, a dutiful bread-winner, a sensitive lover--he'd given Sarah everything. Except himself. When Sarah stuns him with divorce papers after a night on the town, Jed finally abides Sarah's insistence on psychiatric help, hoping it will mend whatever's broken
Instead Dr. "Quack Quack" Rosenbaum prompts Jed to seriously pursue the autobiographical novel that's been gnawing at him for years, and through it to confront all the simmering issues that plague his life: his relationship with his father-in-law, a serial polygamist with a mysterious disease; Jed's record-setting missionary work and love-hate relationship with Mormonism, the religion and the culture; a secret tryst with an old flame right up to her marriage to his distant cousin; and his fascination with love and marriage in all its forms; and personal commitments and obligations. Jed finds himself spinning back into the Mormon heritage he'd left behind decades ago, and into the heart of Utah where the many open circles in his life converge in startling ways.
A early reviewer of the novel wrote: "Unabashed and revealing, Jed's story is a Rothian exploration of obsessions, family history, religion, and unfinished business--an exploration that will make him reconsider everything he's ever believed about marriage, divorce, faith, and himself."
Worlds Without End: A Mormon Studies Roundtable reviews Scott's Closing Circles
October 23, 2012
"This book is more than nostalgia or a criticism of Jed’s weaknesses or of Mormon culture. It is simply trying to describe and understand why, and what is it to be Mormon in the past 50 years. Jed ‘s challenge through the book is to close his circles. This central metaphor in the book sees Mormonism from its circumference, and seeks to complete the unfinished business of its Mormon protagonist. Thus it invites us to do the same. Jed’s self-review is unflinching and at times raw and unglamorous. It is far too filled with sexual intrigue for my taste (but know that I am a prude who has difficulty wading through the darker portions of Canterbury Tales). Like a bonsai, Jed manifests his beauty in his lonely struggle to reach for the light with twisted limbs, and thereby manifests an elegance of repose in imbalance. But by the end of the book, through many bizarre twists, the novel leads us home with a warmer, wiser heart." Read more