The Lost Book of Mormon: A Quest for the Book That Just Might Be the Great American Novel (Paperback)

The Lost Book of Mormon: A Quest for the Book That Just Might Be the Great American Novel By Avi Steinberg Cover Image


Is The Book of Mormon a Great American Novel? Avi Steinberg thinks so. In this quirky travelogue—part fan nonfiction, part personal quest—he follows the trail laid out in Joseph Smith’s book. From Jerusalem to the ruined Mayan cities of Central America to upstate New York and, finally, to Jackson County, Missouri—the spot Smith identified as the site of the Garden of Eden—Steinberg traces The Book’s unexpected path and grapples with Joseph Smith’s demons—and his own. Literate and funny, personal and provocative, the genre-bending The Lost Book of Mormon boldly explores our deeply human impulse to write books, and affirms the abiding power of story.

About the Author

Avi Steinberg is the author of Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, which was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker’s Culture Desk blog. His essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Salon, The Paris Review Daily, and n+1.

Praise For…

“Powerfully resonant. . . . Steinberg masterfully interweaves his personal narrative . . . with the larger investigation. . . . A book about books, a story about stories, that sets out to explore why we tell them, how we craft them, and what makes some stand the test of time while others are forgotten.” —Chicago Tribune

“A funny, humane, surprisingly moving account of a literary pilgrimage. All scripture should have it this good.” —Kevin Roose, author of Young Money

“Vivid, honest and often hilarious. . . . It is as if [Steinberg] has managed to find a way of telling a Faulkneresque family saga through the form of a perfect sitcom.” —The Believer

“Steinberg’s epic voyage is one born of admiration, and it never loses the thrill of discovery. . . . [He] gracefully navigates the tricky line between fan and voyeur.” —The Boston Globe

“Part memoir, part travelogue, part literary and cultural criticism. . . . A writer less curious about how this process [of storytelling] works might have approached The Lost Book of Mormon as a debunking mission, an opportunity to poke fun at those whose beliefs differ from his own. Steinberg, though, is less interested in whether or not stories are true than in why they move us and where they can be found.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A truly weird and beautiful memoir.” —Elif Batuman,

“[A] rollicking travelogue. . . . Steinberg is winning as a travel writer, someone who can go native and understand the desire of others for something, anything, to come to pass.” —The Daily Beast

“Without a doubt, The Lost Book of Mormon will soon have you buying more books: anything written by Avi Steinberg and, yeah, most likely, the actual Book of Mormon. Steinberg could write about what he did yesterday and it would be glorious.” —Jacob Tomsky, author of Heads in Beds

“The story of a winsome, questing narrator’s search for what it means to be a writer. . . . Steinberg is a funny and smart guide.” —The Salt Lake Tribune

“Steinberg makes a strong pitch for elevating The Book of Mormon to its rightful place in America’s literary and social imagination.” —Haaretz

“A wonderfully thoughtful exploration of how The Book of Mormon itself is obsessed with the idea of stories being preserved to be passed on, and what that might tell us about Joseph Smith not just as a prophet, but as a writer. There something almost holy about the way Steinberg celebrates the humanity revealed by this book.” —Salt Lake City Weekly

“Humorous and insightful.” —Times of Israel

“[Written] with real humor and honest self-reflection.” —Pacific Standard
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307948366
ISBN-10: 0307948366
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: November 24th, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English