Mark Richard has won a 2012 Pushcart Prize for House of Prayer No. 2: A Writer’s Journey Home, his otherworldly memoir of growing up in the American South. “I didn’t think there was anything unusual about my life. I didn’t think it was worth examination,” he recently told USC Dornsife Magazine. “Then I started writing, and it came to this place, House of Prayer No. 2.”
A superbly written and irresistible blend of history, travelogue, and personal reflection, Richard’s memoir is a remarkable portrait of a writer’s struggle with his faith, the evolution of his art, and of recognizing one’s singularity in the face of painful disability.
“Read Richard’s amazing memoir House of Prayer No. 2 — read it as soon as you can, you’ll barrel through it — and you’ll know after just two pages of his effortlessly killer prose that he’s special all right … Narrating, mostly, through the best use of second-person urgency since Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, he describes being a disc jockey, a deckhand, a private eye, a ditchdigger. The man can tell a full story in the flick of a phrase … Hallelujah. A”
“An absorbing account of growing up in the 1960s South, living with a disability, becoming a writer and finding faith. Richard’s book attests to the power of words (and the Word) in shaping a life, while at the same time challenging some dearly held beliefs about memoir as a genre … [His] special childhood results in considerable powers of observation, empathy and imagination … Richard is a fiercely gifted writer.”
—The New York Times Book Review