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Future Missionaries of America

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  61 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
A waiter at Yellowstone National Park seeks consolation in the arms of his dead friend's girlfriend. A young woman vacationing in Idaho becomes obsessed with a female poet and her adopted child. A deadbeat bus-driver with a gambling addiction watches his son attempt the impossible at the X Games. A widow, retreating to a New Hampshire lake house, finds her son living there ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by MacAdam/Cage Publishing
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M. Sarki

The title of this book by Matthew Vollmer it is not one that would have even remotely made my radar. It honestly makes me cringe. Many years ago I had already served my long sentence as prisoner to missionaries whether it had been my buddy Phil's preacher's-son recklessness, my own raging addiction to drugs and alcohol, or putting out the wild fires igniting in a life I had so sickly, and surely almost permanently, created for myself. There weren't too man
Liza Gilbert
Aug 09, 2009 Liza Gilbert rated it it was ok
The run-on sentences in these short stories are hard to stomach. I don't think FMoA sucked, but I can name other short story collections that have affected me more. I stopped FMoA after two stories and thought about getting a drink.

The first story, about death, sex, and natural parks, was a bit obvious. [Sleeping with your best friend's girlfriend:] cuts away to [throbbing geisers:] cuts away to [running through the woods:] cuts away to [stinky, sticky sex:]. In my opinion you don't really need
Aug 20, 2009 Peter rated it it was amazing
Okay, so maybe I know the author, and maybe I liked his work when we were in school together, but this is a damn good collection of short stories!

I just set the book down after finishing the last story, which destroyed me then re-assembled me somehow. Is it possible to recognize yourself in every character in a book? If so, you are either a narcissist, or.. the author knows what it's like to be alive. I claim a combination of both in this case. Even the most flawed and broken of characters in
Nov 27, 2009 Erik rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shortstory, top-shelf
Funny story involving this book.

I'm a subscriber to the literary magazine Epoch (put out by Cornell), which I recommend for its short stories but not its poetry. Well, at the end of Vol. 57, #2 of Epoch was a story called The Future Missionaries of America, an awesome love story between the narrator, cynical girl-with-black-fingernails, and a nearly fundamental Christian boy named Melashenko who become "parents" of a robot-baby given to them as part of a Health class.

Yes that's right. A robot ba
Jan 27, 2011 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know Matt and I've always liked his writing, and this collection did not disappoint. Love the language, particularly the energy in the opening story, which sets the tone for a collection that's going to be really inventive, bold, and engrossing. Some really excellent stories in here.
Nov 30, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
From an interview I did, for the Tottenville Review, with Matthew Volmer:

Matthew Vollmer is the author of two short story collections: the critically lauded Future Missionaries of America, a beautifully crafted sampling of spiritual longing and religious legacies amidst the lives of contemporary Americans, and, still fresh from the presses, Inscriptions for Headstones, an ambitious, poetic, and really quite singular work. There’s nothing else like it in the world. Close on the heels of his lates
Jun 09, 2014 Lucas rated it it was amazing
Vollmer knows how to end a story like no one I've read before. There are no shocks or lingering emotions in his prose. His words come in quickly as if on the crest of a wave, then depart smoothly without tension or loss.
May 24, 2011 Jendi rated it liked it
Vollmer's writing deserves 5 stars. Beautiful turns of phrase, and well-described unusual settings. That said, I "appreciated" most of these stories more than I "enjoyed" them. The characters' lives are so bleak, and for the most part, there's no hope that they'll ever find the insight and willpower to break out of their downward spiral. When a story takes on such hard-to-face topics like bereavement and mental illness, the addition of a little humor (however dark and twisted) gives the reader a ...more
Dec 21, 2009 Kris rated it really liked it
I'm giving this four stars mostly for two stories I really liked ("Future Missionaries of America", where two friends take care of a robot baby for a school project, and "Will & Testament", where a letter directs strangers to dispose of a body), but some of these fell flat for me, and sometimes the dialogue felt false, especially given the author (who can't convincingly write a character who says "Ya'll know how ho's be trippin'").
Mar 11, 2012 Gabriel added it
Shelves: 2012
There is a stumbling momentum to this collection, a presaging of horrible accidents to come that deepens with each story until you come to "Will & Testament." What could be more disastrous? The last story, the longest, "Future Missionaries of America," is also my favorite here.
Becca Gomes
Jul 16, 2008 Becca Gomes marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this... the stories are written by a good friend of a good friend of mine. He teaches at Virginia Tech and his mockery of the "Emerging Church" brings many thoughts to light about the way our generation has been raised to proselytize.
Mike Ingram
Aug 06, 2009 Mike Ingram rated it it was amazing
Unlike NewPages, I was not at all reminded of Bela Fleck while reading this book. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with Bela Fleck.

Review to follow on Barrelhouse site, possibly...
Apr 11, 2013 Laura rated it really liked it
Reminded me of Greg Saunders. It's difficult to get everything portioned out correctly within the confines of a short story, but Vollmer does it consistently.
Jul 25, 2009 Nora rated it really liked it
I don't normally read short stories; however, this one was cool. Lots of stories that Just made you think....
Jul 15, 2011 Ben rated it it was ok
Just couldn't get into the flow of the author's style. A lot of gratuitous complexity, I thought.
Oct 24, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it
GREAT writing and collection of stories. I will keep my eyes on this writer.
Nov 23, 2014 Sandee rated it it was ok
Read the first two stories. Not my style, though well written.
US: Khristina Wenzinger
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