Encompassing themes of grief, loss, betrayal, coming of age, endurance, and love (in its various forms), Lives of the Apostles examines the momentary circumstances of everyday people as they try to connect with life in the modern age. With a stylistic approach nearer John Prine than John Donne, the author uses colloquial speech, dialect, storytelling, and humor to consider humankind’s continuous pilgrimage into self and the spirit.
Of the two years he spent laid up, off and on, with an autoimmune disease, the author says, “It was no damn fun. I don’t mind not working, but I prefer it on my own terms—not lying in bed sipping protein shakes and peeling skin. Eventually, I just started listening to music around the clock until I started seeing the power lines outside my bedroom window as guitar strings being plucked by God. This was during November, I think, the month of hard winds pounding the walls. One morning, I was listening to Son House sing “John the Revelator.” Great song. Anyway, when he mentions the apostles, he comes down hard on the -st, actually enunciates it so it sounds like he’s saying apostas. I remember hearing that as a kid, that same pronunciation, which got me to thinking about all these different voices I’d heard throughout my life . . . which in turn started all these different voices telling stories in my head. E. L. Doctorow says writing is basically a “socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” I hope he’s right. About the acceptable part, I mean.”