Read rift by Todd Robert Petersen Online


Jens Thorsen's retirement is not what his wife, Lila, was expecting. Rather than tending to things around the house, Thorsen has thrown himself into a life of charity: visiting the sick, the widowed, and the incarcerated. Between these acts of service, Thorsen finds the time to nurse his feud with local bishop Darrell Bunker.The two have hated each other for as long as anyJens Thorsen's retirement is not what his wife, Lila, was expecting. Rather than tending to things around the house, Thorsen has thrown himself into a life of charity: visiting the sick, the widowed, and the incarcerated. Between these acts of service, Thorsen finds the time to nurse his feud with local bishop Darrell Bunker.The two have hated each other for as long as anyone in Sanpete, Utah, can remember. Even though the valley is much too small for the both of them, Thorsen and the bishop have managed a tense ceasefire that allows daily life to carry on. But when the bishop's daughter moves home, there are suddenly too many egos in one place, and Sanpete starts to pull apart at the seams....

Title : rift
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9120527
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 590 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

rift Reviews

  • Shelah
    2019-01-20 20:25

    Originally published at Blog Segullah.I'm a city girl. I grew up in the great Northeastern megalopolis where it's possible to drive for six or eight hours along Interstate 95 without seeing evidence of the existence of rural America. During my BYU years, I looked down my nose with derision at the wrangler-wearing Animal Science majors, and viewed any part of the state of Utah south of Provo (with the exception of the national parks and Cedar City during the Shakespeare Festival) as one giant speed trap saddled with an unfortunate accent.Somehow, I managed to fall in love with a boy from Springville whose ancestors hail from Sanpete County. Once we left Utah, he spent the next decade learning to say "field" instead of "fild," and we got regular updates about life back home in the land south of Provo, complete with Sunday drives to Fairview to decorate graves and picnic on the grounds at the Manti temple.Todd Robert Petersen's novel, Rift, takes place in the fictional town of Sanpete, which he describes as "ringed on all sides by mountains. It had no interstate and no quick way to get to one. Other towns in the valley had junior colleges or BLM offices, but the town of Sanpete was frozen somewhere between between 1965 and 1972...." It's a town where the lone sheriff's deputy addresses people by name when he turns on the lights in his patrol car to pull them over, where the three-chair barbershop is the local hangout for the retired set, and where the buck stops with Bishop Darrell Bunker (whose counselor, incidentally, is named Bud Miner, and just may be my husband's fictional second-cousin).Jens Thorsen, Rift's crotchety-but-eventually-endearing hero, has been engaged in a decades-long feud with Bunker, which apparently began when Bunker returned a broken drill to Thorsen (it wasn't broken when Thorsen loaned it to him, it just shorted out occasionally). The two men seem to delight in getting each other goats (figuratively, I didn't read of any goats in the story, just lots of horses, sheep and dead crows). The strife escalates from petty annoyances like tracking mud across kitchen floors and "borrowing" heavy equipment, to the arena of the heart when Bunker's daughter returns from "up North" and turns to Thorsen for help when she doesn't get what she wants from her father.The novel won the Marilyn Brown novel award, and when I interviewed Brown last year, she said that the purpose of starting the award was to "encourage [Mormon:] writers to write about themselves in the best language and artistic structure possible.” Petersen's novel is worthy of the award, with great descriptive writing ("Only a day had passed since Thorsen's showdown with Bunker, but in that time, talk volleyed furiously across back fences and shopping carts and checkout counters. It had come into restaurant tables on serving trays, and it left the hardware store in bags of concrete and roofing nails... By sundown the valley had been slathered in gossip."). Jens Thorsen is likely my very favorite character in Mormon fiction, including The Backslider's Frank Windham, who reminds me in some ways of a very young Thorsen. On one hand, he manages to hold a grudge for decades, grumbles at his wife, evades the police and buys cigarettes for a ward member, but on the other hand, he spends his days engaged in good works for the Jewish "gentile" doctor, an elderly nonmember couple, and others who have been cast off from Sanpete society.I've read a lot of books about women in small towns banding together to fight ignorance (like this year's The Help) and women in religious communities fighting gossip and small-mindedness (like The Ladies' Auxiliary), but one of the things I love best about Rift is that it's a book about close male friendships, and men engaged in good works. Petersen's debut novel is a beauty, and Jens Thorsen is a character who will stay in my mind, and make me think twice about the people who live in the small towns of southern Utah as I drive through them on my way to Bryce or Zion.

  • Elizabeth Kennedy
    2019-02-12 23:19

    This novel has at least two things going for it. First is the gem of a main character, Jens Thorsen. At first glance he's the your typical grumpy old man with a hidden heart of gold. While this description fits Jens, he's much more than that. He is a real, three dimensional, well-developed character. Unfortunately, such well-drawn figures aren't typical enough in LDS themed fiction. Many characters in LDS novels are too good or too bad to feel human, or just too stereotypical. Some of the minor characters in Petersen's book fall into this latter category. The self-righteous Relief Society ladies read a bit like caricature. The other strength of this novel is Petersen's sense of place. He describes rural and small town life in Sanpete County vividly. He is a good descriptive writer.

  • Callie
    2019-02-17 18:30

    A feud between a Sanpete county bishop and a crotchety old ward member. Hmmm. I appreciate what he was trying to do, along with some of his observations about small town hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness. Seemed to need more development though as a lot of the conceits fell flat or missed. The bare bones of the plot were there, but it just didn't gel like it should have. Didn't have the impact you wanted it to carry. I liked the character of Jens Thorsen (the crotchety old man) though. He was well-drawn and you felt sympathetic toward him. Maybe since I read this on the heels of The Backslider, I am asking too much. Certainly Rift has to be much better and more complicated than most Mormon fiction, but I wouldn't know since I usually avoid it.

  • Maryposa
    2019-02-03 17:24

    I was hesitant about this book. I don't generally read religious fiction. That isn't to say that I haven't read religious fiction, i just prefer not to. As Jim Gaffigan puts it, "I like to keep work at work"That being said, I don't know if i would even classify this as "religious fiction" Sure the plot was interwoven through a deeply religious community, but this story was more than that. As far as character driven narratives go, this is one of the best. I wanted to hang out with Thoreson and Stucki in that barber shop. The writing was superb, but that almost goes without saying. The author (hee hee, Todd) really has a way with not only fleshing out the characters with the perfect balance of shadow and detail, but the landscape as well.And chapter ten was probably one of the best things i've read all summer.***Addendum:Lately i've been revisiting my thoughts on this book a lot. I teach a Sunday school class and we recently had a lesson on Charity, and all I could think about while preparing it was Jens. Every action he takes in the book is for the benefit of his fellow man. I like it.

  • Stella
    2019-01-29 22:14

    Let's get two things out of the way. This is, apparently, religious fiction, which is not something I would normally pick up. Also, Todd Peterson was a professor of mine over 15 years ago. The best thing I've ever written was for his class and I still use lessons from his class every day.RIFT is about a small town. All small towns, religious or not, are basically the same. Feuds, rumors and gossip are just part of life. Peterson created a character that I couldn't help but love. Jens is the cranky, rascally old man that is always there with a helping hand and a wink.The writing is copious and I easily could see myself in this town, watching as the feud between Jens and the Bishop grew larger (and more ridiculous). In the end, it wasn't (and isn't) about who was right or wrong. It's just about being a good person and helping others.

  • Ross
    2019-02-13 20:24

    Not a truly "great" piece of literature but I really enjoyed this novel about crusty old characters in San Pete County, Utah. The characters were interesting and I thought it gave a pretty honest view of rural Utah. I shared the book with two friends, one of whom grew up in the area. They both enjoyed it. The friend who grew up in the area said the resemblances between the main character and his brother could not be all coincidence. I thought the depiction of the hypocracy of local church members was a little too harsh but understand how an outsider might see it that way.

  • Sharman Wilson
    2019-02-15 17:31

    Brent and I read this together and we enjoyed it so much! I wish I knew a guy like the main character, Thorsen--a generous curmudgeon with a great sense of humor, very flawed but lovable. I actually miss some of the characters now that we're finished. I could have kept reading about their small town Utah lives for a lot longer. Those are the kind of places where neighbors feud and forgive, gossip and take care of each other. Besides enjoying the story, I found Petersen's writing style a pleasure to read. It's a quirky Mormon story, but also very universal and accessible.

  • Laura Craner
    2019-02-02 18:21

    It took me waaaay too long to get around to reading this book. It blew my mind! It was funny and sad and poignant and, well, a little bit of everything. I wasn't expecting to like a story about small town Utah and grumpy old men this much, but I did. It was so good I found myself wanting to copy out snippets to post in my facebook status. I'm so glad it got the AML award this year. Along with _The Conversion of Jeff Williams_ this book is now my go-to recommendation when people ask me for book suggestions.

  • Jessie
    2019-01-22 21:24

    I was prepared to not like this book; it came out a few years ago but I had put off reading it simply because it didn't appeal to me. I admit to feeling a little tired of Mormon books that were about men and take place in rural Utah. This book changed my mind, or at least helped me see that a good writer can take anything and make it good. The writing is beautiful and the main character is likable despite his best efforts to make us not like him.

  • Jenny
    2019-02-18 18:14

    This is a rare gem of LDS Fiction. I read a review on that piqued my interest, and it is a winner. One of several favorite quotes: > Angie coughed a last time and smiled. "So we're back to the standard church line—everything between men and women is sexual. Why don't you just put us in burkas?" "A donut in a bag is still a donut. (...)" <I just liked the tone, and the character-driven / anecdotal plot. A small-town feud at its best.

  • Betsy
    2019-02-08 23:19

    A lovely novel about curmudgeon Jens Thorsen, a mormon who lives in Sanpete, UT. In his retirement, Jens takes good care of people in need in his neighborhood. He also has an ongoing fued with his mormon bishop, whose daughter returns to town and creates a cafuffle. The novel's strength is its tender but realistic portrayal of the people of Sanpete and their complexities. Mormon elements are not explained for those not familiar with them.

  • Brent Wilson
    2019-02-20 22:20

    Sharman and I read this together at night-We were delighted throughout. So many quotable observations from Jens Thorsen the lead - I should have used a pencil to mark them.The novel explores the space between full orthodoxy and faith in a small Mormon town and the lead character. He's a believer and he has faith - but he butts heads with the local bishop. He's always well-intentioned, giving selfless service, but sometimes let his pride complexify things a bit.

  • Cissy
    2019-01-25 17:16

    Amusing and interesting enough to keep me going. A quirky story with a good message of sweetness underneath a rough character. Far better written and developed than most Mormon genre. Still...just left me a bit disappointed. There was a melodramatic, self-conscious element that kind of bugged me.

  • Julia
    2019-02-15 20:21

    I really enjoyed the characters in this book--very three-dimensional. However, I thought the story was unfinished. There is no satisfactory explanation for how and why the book ends as it does. I needed closure.

  • Erin
    2019-02-02 00:31

    I liked this book's exploration of charity and enduring to the end, and Jens was a great character. I especially loved the way it captured elderly male friendship in a small community. The ending was a little weak, but not so much I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Leah
    2019-02-18 22:27

    I'm not sure how to rate this. The diction is glorious and vibrant. This author paints a picture with words in a way that few can.I just had a hard time connecting to the characters. I cared about Jens, but I couldn't sink myself into his story in a way I felt the writing deserved.

  • KU
    2019-02-01 17:08

    I'm going to give Mormon fictions a try. But that's yet, so don't try to recommend any of your other "smut" and romance novels on me!

  • Julie
    2019-01-22 20:05

    An interesting look at people and (mis)conceptions and judgments. I found it even more fun being part of the "Mormon" culture.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-22 22:16

    Recommended by Blog Segullah Oct 30, 2009

  • Sara
    2019-01-21 17:12

    Read this a few years back and really liked it. Really captures the intricacies of life in small-town Utah with humor and heart.

  • Kindra
    2019-01-20 18:13

    Fantastic read. It was amazing reading about the life and culture I've grown up in and know so well.

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-13 20:09

    Utah author tells the story of a crusty old good samaritan in San Pete who has a long standing beef with his bishop and a heart of gold. Place and characters ring true.

  • Rick
    2019-02-07 21:31

    I really enjoyed this book.

  • Frank Snell
    2019-01-20 23:30

    Conflict in the Ward in a small Mormon town.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-01 18:33

    Funny old men in Sanpete county.

  • Melanie
    2019-02-04 01:33

    Not your typical LDS fiction.

  • Michael
    2019-01-29 23:18

    Review coming ...