Ten Interwoven Stories
John J. Clayton
Ten engaging interwoven short stories about the lives of people who meet weekly at a synagogue to pray. Each story is told from the point of view of a different character and deals with issues like narcissism and love, brokenness and repair. Sam Schulman, prayer leader for the minyan, appears in a number of stories. The stories and the book as a whole deal with narcissism and love, with brokenness and repair. There's a kindness and spiritual longing that make this book unusual in a cultural era of emptiness, nihilism, darkness. These are stories that, even when comic, even when tragic, believe in the human spirit.
John J. Clayton is an award-winning author. Minyan is his ninth work of fiction. He was a professor of literature and fiction at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and he has been a frequent contributor to Commentary magazine. He has a Ph.D. in Modern Literature from Indiana University.He has long been mining the fusion, the intersection, of psychology and spirituality—especially, the past two decades, Jewish spirituality.His collection Many Seconds into the Future was published in 2014. Mitzvah Man, his fourth novel, appeared in 2011 and received the Bronze Award from the Book of the Year Awards in Literary Adult Fiction. Wrestling with Angels: New and Collected Stories has recently been republished. His third novel, Kuperman’s Fire, about criminal evil, Jewish heritage, and the miracle of survival, was published in 2007 and was made into a Blackstone Audiobook.Clayton’s stories have appeared in AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, Sewanee Review, a dozen times in Commentary; in Kerem, Notre Dame Review, Missouri Review and The Journal. His stories have won prizes in O.Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Sto¬ries, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. His collection Radiance, won the Ohio State University award in short fiction and was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. “The Man Who Could See Radiance” was read at Symphony Space in New York and has been aired often on NPR since fall, 2001, as part of the Selected Shorts series. It has been included in the audio anthology, Getting There From Here: Best of Selected Shorts.Clayton has taught modern literature and fiction writ¬ing as professor and then Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, since 1969 and has taught as Visiting Professor at Mt. Holyoke College and Hampshire College. He has written two books of literary criticism: Saul Bellow: In Defense of Man and Gestures of Healing, a psychological study of the modern novel.