Monday, August 21, 2006

Recommendations on "PK Lit?"


I started Allan Gurganus' PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS this morning, and I'm kicking myself, thinking, why didn't I pick up this book before? I just happened across it, appropriately, in the fabulous book section of Housing Works Thrift Shop on the Upper West Side. Glad I grabbed it. Anyway, one of the characters is an artist-PK (Preacher's Kid) like me, and it's an interesting, sensitive, funny portrayal through the eyes of his less-Lutheran friend. The book opens with the PK dying of AIDS at St. Vincents Hospital, asking his caretaker-friend to clear all the sex toys from his apartment before the parents show up for a final visit. Poignant, funny--dildoes stacked like "cord wood" in the broom closet--I can't wait to read on.

What does being a preacher's kid do to one's identity? This is one of the themes I'm playing with in my new novel project. And in life, I suppose, though I have other identity "themes" there too. My broom closet is way more boring, but I still identify with the character's impulse to "clean up," even when that seems like a silly notion.


So now I'm brainstorming, trying to think of other works of literature with preacher's kid characters or authors. Any suggestions? I have the complete oevre of James Baldwin on the shelf, and most of Tennessee Williams and Darcey Steinke. Also have Marilynne Robinson's GILEAD on my to-be-read stack. Any others you have enjoyed?

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2 Comments:

Anonymous emily said...

I'm a PK too, and something about that totally has shaped my identity as an adult. Probably the whole growing up as a fishbowl family thing. I don't think I'd wish it upon anyone.

4:08 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

Fishbowl family, yes. That would be a good title for a book.

I just read Jay Bakker's YA memoir...talk about fishbowl. I'm not sure what I think of his theology yet, but he's interesting. I like his focus on grace, and he's really trying to reclaim the evangelist movement from the bigots and internal politickers.

But I'm just not an evangelist, deep down. There's plenty of good news to spread, and Jesus isn't always involved. I'm on the fence.

7:28 PM  

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