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Mission To America by Walter Kirn
The Mission To America of this novel's title is taken by two young men from an isolated matriarchical religious sect. Mason LaVerle and Elder Stark belong to the church of the Aboriginal Fulfilled Apostles in remote Montana, believing in a mix of New Age and religious tenets. The church is in need of new members, especially women, so Mason and Elder are sent off to the outside world to bring back new recruits. It's a world the two young have difficulty understanding, but they persevere in their attempts to experience it so they can understand what it would take to convert the people they encounter. They eventually end in a Colorado ski resort town where they encounter many of the rich and privileged and their bizarre and eccentric experiences of the American life. Mason finds a woman whom he might convert, despite her porn-filled past. Back in Montana, though, the seeress who leads their religion edges closer to death. Walter Kirn's satire has received mixed reviews with the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "Kirn's sympathy for the individuals in Mission To America helps ensure that the novel doesn't cross the boundary separating satire and farce. He skewers the country, deservedly, but he also understands it and loves it. And he helps the reader do the same."