Danny Gospel is the first novel of David Athey who has been primarily previously published in literary journals. This is not an easy book to describe, the enjoyment is in reading it. The novels main character Danny Gospel is from a farm family that goes out and sings old time Gospel songs and spirituals around the midwest and thus the family became known as the Gospels. This provides a background to the character, but the novel is not some overly pious representation of some idealized Gospel singers. Instead what came to mind the most to me when reading this novel was the novels of Flannery O'Connor, that is if Flannery O'Connor lived in the midwest instead of the south. Danny Gospel wants to write a spiritual, but does not feel that he has suffered enough even as the book unfolds with his life and memories of the past and the severe difficulties he has gone thought. These disasters all come to a point and the book takes off from there as you learn the back story and how he deals with it.
I must admit that I was quickly hooked to the writing of the book and this novel had me reading well into the night even later than is normal for me. The character of Danny Gospel is so intriguing and there is so much lighthearted humor in the book in the face of the situations he faced. There are also plenty of Catholic elements in the novel where the father is Catholic and the mother and grandmother our devout Protestants and Danny Gospel himself is influenced in a Catholic direction. I just found so much to like about this novel in the way that it was written and the story told. I wish I had the writing talent to write the review this book deserves, this is a seriously good novel as Dale Alquist and others would attest to.
Disclaimer: David Athey is a reader of my blog and sent me a copy of his book.