T H E M E N D I N G
COMING SOON | 02.28.19
In R.B. Scott’s newest novel, The Mending, the past collides with the present as the deeply spiritual, yet iconoclastic Benjamin Adams Pratt prepares to return to Salt Lake City, where he was born and raised, for a milestone high school reunion. What unfolds over the next hundred thousand words or so is a poignant and rollicking homecoming of a prodigal—in this case, the boy who forsook the Mormon Zion for the glamour and pace of Manhattan. Along the way, refreshingly nuanced and complex perspectives on faith, love, and personal acceptance emerge almost inadvertently.
A confessed narcissist and recusant Mormon, Ben’s chronic personal guilt for his spiritual and emotional inadequacies overrides his thoughts as we invade his mind on the homeward-bound flight to the city of his birth. He is certain that he has fallen short of expectations; his own and his parents, particularly his father’s. As snapshots from his past emerge, memories and issues he’d assumed were buried and forgotten, a comprehensive portrait emerges of an achingly self-conscious man of remarkable devotion and awkward loyalty. It matters not that he deliberately distanced himself from family and friends decades earlier and is intellectually dismissive of the restrictive religion and culture he inherited.
Drawing upon the past and the present, Scott adeptly weaves a kaleidoscopic memoir of a novel that conveys both the transience of life and the transcendence of memory, human relationships, and faith. In a narrative style similar to John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, he merges riotously humorous storytelling with poignant reflections about half-formed relationships and missed opportunities.
Each adds texture and color to the portrait of Ben Adams, the man who is said to remember too much of everything. Through the eyes of everyone, from his brilliant wife, Annebury, to his outspoken mother, to an egotistical, surprisingly observant and fabulously wealthy Jewish golfer he once caddied for, to a tenderhearted hospital nurse, we see Ben as a boy struggling to balance his inherited faith with what he is learning and observing on his own. Here is a young man desperate to please everyone, but who is convinced he has satisfied no one, especially himself.
Scott’s beautifully engaging narratives convey universal messages about belonging, love, personal growth, forgiveness, and reconciliation. He skillfully guides the reader through Ben’s metamorphosis from an astonishingly independent and footloose child in Salt Lake City, into a wily and scornful New Yorker who is simultaneously seduced, bemused, and repulsed by the privileges of class and almost genetic, if practiced, erudition. The universal messages transcend the borderlands of inheritance, religion, culture, ethnicity, and humanity.
EARLY READERS’ COMMENTS
“With uncommon frankness and an easy riveting style, Scott plumbs the depths of life and religion generally, particularly the inscrutable culture of Mormonism. His language is edgy, evocative, humorous and compassionate. Without preaching, the compelling story reminds that all humankind benefits when we care and pull for one another.”
~ Carol Lynn Pearson | Author of Goodbye, I Love You and No More Goodbyes
“R.B. Scott’s characters in “The Mending” are deeply drawn, intensely interesting and complicated. His writing style is very free-flowing, patterned like memories occur. Each one hitches a ride on the one before it, which makes total sense in a novel about a man (Benjamin Adams Pratt) who never forgets anything as he attempts to straddle the demanding and inscrutable religion and culture of Mormonism and the electrifying real-world he discovered in New York City and Boston.”
~ Thomas Duncan | Actor and Playwright of The Remarkable Parley P!
“Unfolding like a memoir, The Mending wrests memories into the present day as it turns upside down concepts of personal responsibility, friendship, morality, empathy and caring.”
~ Mitch Mayne | Contributor to The Huffington Post
“The Mending is poignant, funny, riotous, at times tragic, lovely, and transcendent. With candor and in an enjoyable, redolent style, Scott tests the meaning of life and love as he explores the eccentricities of the Mormon culture, dogma, tensions, and its people. The questions posed are those posed by religion, by life, religious or not. Like John Irving, Phillip Roth, and even Walker Percy, Scott lets us feel the poignancy and value of life where occasionally humor, tragedy, and hallowed moments coincide, helping us realize the joy that can fill our mortal bye. We see how compassion, love, kindness, caring and being one with the needs of our brothers and sisters, in unexpected ways and moments, make us human and good. No preaching, here, but this riveting yarn with unexpected moments of quandary teaches more gospel than most preachers. Self-righteous judgment is put in its place – the last shall be first and the first shall be last; he that will lose his life for my sake shall save it.”
~ Christopher Blakesley | Professor Emeritus, Law Center, Louisiana State University
"Scott does an amazing thing: while introducing [Ben] Pratt as a pretentious, self-absorbed curmudgeon that readers may dislike initially, he masterfully allows Pratt's savvy and adoring wife, observant family members and friends, to adjust misconceptions and transform him into an accommodating and kind, if surprisingly complicated and compromised human being."
~ Jim Jansen | Actor, Los Angeles