This Is the Place by Peter Rock

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Sixty-four-feet tall and made of metal, the neon giant Wendover Will stands in front of the Stateline casino in Wendover, Nevada and faces east. The sign under him reads "This Is The Place." Over a hundred miles away in Utah, across the salt flats, stands the statue of Brigham Young, atop his monument, proclaiming the same thing, "This Is The Place."

This Is the Place is the sinister story of an aged and lonely blackjack dealer living in Wendover, who becomes obsessed with a nineteen-year-old Mormon girl from Bountiful, Utah. It is a story of love, perhaps doomed, told by an endearing misanthrope who may be delusional, but who has managed to coalesce his manias into an alternative understanding that lies somewhere between Wendover Will's depravity and Brigham Young's morality:

"The dispute between Will and Brigham is not for me to settle, nor would I want it settled. The words hang over the salt flats, the most forsaken stretch of earth, a terrifying expanse of sheer space, white, like another planet, hard and smooth where nothing can live. This all sounds so grim! I've known joy and I'll know it again. It's just that it takes work to get up the words to talk about love."

His love leads him to do a terrible thing, and he tells this story to justify himself. His words, seductive and convincing, draw the reader into a world where the supernatural takes on new meaning. It is a haunting journey to the extreme realities of Las Vegas and Salt Lake City and many places in between. Above all, it is an odyssey to the depths of love.

About Peter Rock

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PETER ROCK is the author of five previous novels, most recently My Abandonment, and a collection of stories, The Unsettling. He teaches writing at Reed College.
Published March 1, 1997 by San Val. 256 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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There, Charlotte gets a taste of the wide world when she's seduced by a voracious chorus girl, then goes off with Keith and a wild drug-runner, who enlists their help in his addled plan to scare his hometown into thinking aliens are landing in their alfalfa fields.

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Time has not been kind to the aged casino card dealer who narrates this first novel by Rock, a Wallace Stegner Fellow and recipient of a 1996 Henfield Award.

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