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Son of Soothsayer


This provocative satirical novel dares to question the prevailing notion that the cure-all for society's ills is a heavy dose of positive thinking. Written as a chapter-by-chapter response to the self-help manual The Secret, Son of Soothsayer is both a sprawling family saga and a critical look at the trappings of new age philosophy. The book traces the coming-of-age of narrator Clayton Blaine, who lives in the shadow of a mother so steeped in the cult of positive thinking that she thinks she can alter the universe by the sheer force of concentration. Through a series of sometimes comic, sometimes poignant snapshots of Clayton's adolescence, readers will be captivated by the family's ruinous attempts at enlightenment and moved by their resolve to mine truth from the rubble, no matter the cost. 

" Funny, touching, insightful, and ultimately wise, Simon A. Smith’s Son of Soothsayer is a novel that delights."

—  Terrell Isselhard, Windy City Review

"Delightfully reminiscent of Cruddy by Lynda Barry, Smith's gift for colorful description and propulsive storytelling is intoxicating."

—  Ben Tanzer, author of Be Cool and SEX AND DEATH

"The danger of blind optimism is often underestimated, but in this book, the threat is tangible and urgent. Smith does an impressive job building the menacing facets, creating suspense while also allowing readers the relief of laughing at the characters' pratfalls along the way. A perfect book for this moment, when it feels impossible to ignore the shifting dynamics of politics and community. Here is a new lens to peer through in search of that elevated empathy and understanding."

—  Jac Jemc, author of The Grip of It and My Only Wife

About the Author

A Chicago novelist, teacher, and scriptwriter, Simon holds a BA in fiction writing and an MAT in secondary education. His fiction has appeared in many journals, including Hobart Pulp, Whiskey Island, Juked, and Curbside Splendor. His journalism has also aired on Chicago Public Radio and appeared in the Chicago Reader. He lives in the Albany Park neighborhood with his wife and son.


New Meridian Arts

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