Item description for A Prayer for Dawn by Nathan Singer...
The lives of a dozen people in Cincinnati, Ohio are inextricably linked in this unrelenting first novel by Nathan Singer. A publicist who writes checks to charities to relieve a guilty conscience, a convict who rants in an underground 'zine, an artist with a controversial portfolio, a runaway engaging in 'petty terrorism', and an eight year old girl named Dawn at the center of it all watch as the world falls down around them.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Jul 25, 2004
Publisher Bleak House Books
ISBN 1932557040 ISBN13 9781932557046
Availability 0 units.
More About Nathan Singer
Nathan Singer is a novelist, playwright, composer, and experimental performance artist. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, "A Prayer for Dawn" and "Chasing the Wolf". He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio where he is currently at work on new projects.
Nathan Singer currently resides in Cincinnati, in the state of Ohio.
Reviews - What do customers think about A Prayer for Dawn?
A chance worth taking Dec 29, 2004
"A Prayer for Dawn" is a novel that takes chances, and luckily for Singer, they pay off. Some may view it as over-the-top, brash, or too non-PC, but that seems to be what he's going for. We live in an over-the-top world, and he takes full advantage of putting this on display.
On my first read, I noticed that many of his characters were similar. It was a bit bothersome, but upon another read, it was clearly intentional. They were meant to overlap, perhaps to show us that the lonely, fat, homosexual teenager is no different from the greedy, guilt-ridden middle-aged woman, or the poverty-stricken black man. It's equality at its finest. But even in their similarities, there are striking differences. The problem I have with most authors is that when they write for a character who is another gender, age, or sexual orientation, they pull it off terribly. Singer's portrayal of a quickly maturing 8 year old girl was convincing... not an easy task. Every character had unique quirks that made them believeable, no matter how outlandish they acted.
I applaud Singer for bringing things that disturb us to the forefront. Not only does he show us these unmentionables, but he forces us to look at them, holds our eyes open and yells "THIS IS WHAT REALLY HAPPENS!" Some of the scenes are gruesome and hard to stomach, but again, that's the world we live in. One realization I had about these scenes is that the artwork that causes the characters to vomit is different in each reader's mind. It lets our most feared thoughts come into view.
This is an immensely good and I'd recommend it to anyone with an open mind. I haven't seen so much potential in a first novel in quite some time, and I look forward to more from a new talent.
Trying Way Too Hard To Transgress Dec 28, 2004
In retrospect, I'm not sure why I thought buying this novel was a good idea. On the one hand it was by an indie press (I'm a sucker for indie presses), it had a compelling cover, and it bore the intriguing designation "A Thrash Novel" below the title. And on the other hand--and this is a hand which I should have recognized as being a massive fist, crushing all else in its meaty grasp--the author's bio on the back includes the words "performance artist." Now, I'm not dead-set against performance art, it's just that of the performance art I've seen 75% is flat-out awful, another 20% is passable if unremarkable, and about 5% is actually interesting. The vast majority of my experience with performance art is that the artist is desperately attempting to be as provocative and rebellious as all get-out, only to end up flailing about in a cliché-ridden frenzy of half-formed ideas--which is precisely the failing of Singer's debut novel.
The story, in as much as Singer is interested in telling a story (which isn't much), revolves around an underground artist and various figures in his life, including his daughter, his patron, his publicist, his buddy from jail, and other assorted figures. This artist's work is sooooo provocative that people actually vomit upon encountering it for the first time (a fantasy of Singer's own career?). Alas, when described, this artwork amounts to little more than hyper-violent tableaus featuring an angry and massively endowed pedophile. Of course, one of the perils of writing about art in this way is that no image you can build with words can possibly convey the intensity it's supposed to generate to the characters in the book. And in an age when the most horrorshow real-life images possible are easily discovered online, are we supposed to believe that people will be so shocked by art?
Of course, the whole novel is an exaggerated, over-the-top kaleidoscope, not unlike the film Natural Born Killers in its approach. The multiple narrators allow Singer to show off his stylistic dexterity, echoing the voices of an underground artist (not exactly a stretch), a adolescent girl, a take-no-prisoners un-PC columnist, a freestyle rapper, a law-and-order sheriff, a gay teenager, a rich guilt-ridden publicist, and a few forgettable others. I will give Singer some credit for being able to capably mimic a variety of voices and styles on paper. However, the characters are such oversized cartoons that one is hard-pressed to care about any of them or what happens to them.
The real failure, however, is not one of imagination, but rather of ideas. Singer's clearly got a lot of 'em, especially when it comes to censorship, the police, race politics, sexual politics, and the general oppressiveness of mainstream society. Alas, they never emerge as more than a series of increasing tedious and clichéd set-piece dud grenades lobbed at the status quo. Police beatdown of a black motorist, cocaine-fueled orgy at a mansion, police riot at a Free Mumia rally, gay teenager's finds love in the back of a van, AIM plot to blow up Mt. Rushmore, etc. None of this is particularly original material, and the only people who might get their minds blown by how transgressive and rebellious this is are high-schoolers who haven't discovered Hunter S. Thompson yet. The shame of it all is that Singer and I probably share 95% of our political and cultural values. Where we diverge is how that is expressed, and one can only hope that his work will outgrow the sophomoric stage it's at right now.
fantastic Oct 4, 2004
this book was amazing. you must read it right now. everyone you know must read it. don't do one single thing more before reading this book.
Worthwhile read and it really connected with me Sep 20, 2004
This novel is an excellent work of social commentary and artistry. The quick scene changes and action galore kept me chained to it~! Some parts are triumphant, some parts funny, some disturbing, very stimulating!
Nathan Singer is a gifted "Original" Aug 26, 2004
Nathan Singer is an actor, playwright, musician and fiction author. He is a true original. If you like to mix your anger with hope and your short-comings with redemption - Singer is the writer for you.