In 1987, when Bryan Parys was four years old, his father Alfred pressed record on a tape player next to his hospital bed. He began leaving messages for his wife, three children, and anyone who wanted to know why his terminal cancer at age thirty-eight wouldn't shake his faith. ""If God told me to walk into a fiery furnace, I'd do it,"" he said, perhaps knowing that he would not walk back out. In Wake, Sleeper, Parys tries to understand his father's deathbed fire in the context of a Christian childhood that taught him about eternity. Unspoken feelings of doubt lead Parys toward an inner life where he is allowed to question, provoke, and search for beauty in the void of grief. Through the lens of his upbringing in a Christian school and the church that met in the school gymnasium, that inner voice emerges in Wake, Sleeper. The grief of his past contrasts with the tension of his search to fit in, told as a lyrical and often humorous meditation on time. ""Wake, Sleeper is a compelling articulation of the depths of grief, faith, doubt, and reckoning . . . Parys's stylistic attention and willful experimentation define and honor the personal history he so deftly renders. Full of blistering disquiet and sincere affection, this fantastic debut begs us to keep our eyes open and rise up with it."" --Dave Harrity, author of Our Father in the Year of the Wolf ""Christian Wiman has written about 'trying to learn how to inhabit time so completely that there might be no distinction between life and belief, attention and devotion.' In these illuminating essays, Bryan Parys renders the vivid details of his coming of age in just such a spirit, and we are privileged to be alongside for the journey. This] is an important debut and Parys a welcome new voice."" --Daniel Bowman Jr., author of A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country ""Wake, Sleeper is a brave, irreverent, funny and stunningly generous exploration of faith and resistance to it, of identity, of grief, of the joy of intellectual and spiritual inquiry. Parys's attention to the idiosyncrasies of language opens lines of thought that are at times profound and, at others, hilarious. This is an edgy, brilliant scouting of ancient geography by a young and highly gifted writer."" --Meredith Hall, author of the memoir Without a Map ""Many writers share their questions in order to offer their answers. But some writers, like Bryan Parys, live in the messiness of questions. Eschewing the temptations of certainty, Parys has created a gorgeous, searching work. Wake, Sleeper is a book of revelation."" --Chris Stedman, author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious and Executive Director of the Yale Humanist Community Bryan Parys is a writer, editor, and teacher. His creative nonfiction work has appeared in Ruminate Magazine, Sojourners, and The Good Men Project, among others. He received his M.F.A. in creative nonfiction at the University of New Hampshire, is a writer at Berklee College of Music, and teaches writing on Boston's North Shore. This is his first book
Have a question about this product? Ask us here.