Nazareth, North Dakota: A Novel (Book 1 of The Messiah Trilogy)
by Tommy Zurhellen
Fiction, Trade Paperback Original
5.25 x 8 in / 212 pages
Publication Date: April 15, 2011
2012 Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) Gold Medal for Best Fiction from the U.S. Midwest Region
This gem of a novel—a splendid recasting and modern retelling of the story of the young messiah—is a fast, quirky, dirt-kicking ride through the Badlands of North Dakota from the early 1980s to the present, complete with feathered locks, KISS cover bands, and fire-and-brimstone preachers. It’s an adventurous, irresistible tale about everything from a 31-year-old fugitive mom who escapes a motel shootout with an abandoned newborn to a corrupt sheriff, a kindhearted carpenter, the world’s oldest man, and the chosen paths of two hell-raising, miracle-bent cousins.
This incandescent debut is an authentic religious allegory connecting Lakota history with scripture. It contains plot twists and undeniable truths as deep and wide as the Little Missouri River, with ideas and messages so big, so earthshaking, so unmistakably divine, they do more than transform the little town of Nazareth. They change the world.
Praise for Nazareth, North Dakota
“[T]his debut novel reveals the hardscrabble life of normal, unguided people who put their last dollars in the juke box and don’t worry about what will happen when the song ends…Zurhellen’s masterful dialogue often makes for gripping scenes that sustain these characters for decades.”
“More than just a clever reimagining of the New Testament, Nazareth, North Dakota is an epic tale in its own right…[Zurhellen] demonstrates that while it may be true that there is nothing new under the sun, there’s a good mix of enjoyment and insight to be found in recycling the old.”
–New York Journal of Books
“[S]imply outstanding…This is the kind of book that will sit at the forefront of your mind for days…”
“Zurhellen takes the reader joy riding — in beat-up pick-up trucks and run-down vans and on marauding motorcycles — into familiar and surprising territory…where an old tale retold reminds us that the divine spark may yet be found under the most pedestrian of circumstances…”
–Washington Independent Review of Books
“[O]ne heck of a tale that’s as much about the complexity of living in the modern world as it is about reinventing the icons of Christian tradition…an excellent book from a promising new voice in literature.”
–Small Press Reviews
“This is a large-hearted book about the everpresent fundamental human verities written with empathy, force, and verve.”
-Ron Carlson, author of Five Skies and The Signal
Tommy Zurhellen was born in New York City. Nazareth, North Dakota is his first novel.