God’s Gym: Stories
John Edgar Wideman
God’s Gym is the first story collection in more than a decade from one of our most celebrated American authors. A two-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and a finalist for the National Book Award, John Edgar Wideman is a master of the short story. He was awarded the prestigious Rea Award for accomplishment in the short story form, and these electric, mesmerizing stories have appeared in numerous magazines, including Harper’s Magazine, GQ, Playboy, Esquire, Callalloo, and Fiction, as well as in The Best American Short Stories.
God’s Gym features stories that explore issues of strength and faith, fate and belief. In the first story, Wideman writes, “My mother believes in a god whose goodness would not permit him to inflict more troubles than a person can handle. A god of mercy and salvation. A sweaty, bleeding god presiding over a fitness class in which his chosen few punish their muscles. She should wear a T-shirt: God’s Gym.” Here are stories that chart the thorny relationships between genders, races, and friends, stories that break the rules and expose the turning points of life for what they really are.