"Lost and Found"
The awards committee stated, "Michael Fillerup's stories are often
about Mormonism in that direct way that subverts probity with good
intention--or would, if the writing were any less wary than his, or
any less open to complication, ambush, or misgiving. A kind of home
teaching perhaps, but here set fobiddingly far from home. His
characters are often profound loners, people twice estranged. They
find themselves marginalized in a culture--for them--already marginal,
where what they do and are is sustained by religious commitment, and
religious commitment is imperiled precisely by what they find
themselves doing and what, in fact, they have become. Faith in these
stories, is a terrible gift.
"'Lost and Found,' published in a Christmas anthology of mostly
far-too-well-intentioned writing, is just such a story, a kind of
counter-Christmas tale, in which a painfully unwise man is called on a
starless Christmas Eve to bring his foreign gift, not to mark the
miracle virgin birth, but to find something not unlike miracle in the
long-deflowered ordinariness of death. As in Fillerup's other work,
the story plunges along with seeming artlessness where careful shaping
would surely not seem to take, and all the while it draws us deftly on
with urgency and realism. It is a hard=nosed, rawly detailed, icily
coercive read. And ends however improbably still quite believably in
magic. In revelation.
"With 'Lost and Found,' Michael Fillerup has braved a labyrinth of
sentiment, all the more treacherous for its familiarity, to achieve a
story whose probity might even make the world safe again, if only
momentarily, for Christmas. That too is a terrible gift."