An American Gospel

by Michael Daffenberg

After serving his country and earning a philosophy degree, an Iraq war veteran struggles to support his family in recessionary America, pushing him closer and closer to the brink of suicide, when a murdered girl, cancer, and a nursing home miracle come together as a message of hope.

With a wife and two children to support, Mike Gilbacher ventures into the work world only to find disappointment as a low-paying convenience store clerk. Then, an opportunity at a nursing home arises, but things get worse as he witnesses the neglect and endures the constant stress of dealing with dying people.

Mike’s frustration builds until he becomes hopeless, thinking he has found his only answer in a bottle of pills. But then the miracle occurs at the nursing home changing everyone's viewpoint. Can Mike's life be saved and faith restored?​ 

This remarkable debut novel balances humor with hardship in portraying the struggles of a likable character told in a highly entertaining and innovative structure.

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​​Praise for An American Gospel

"An American Gospel is an unusual and engrossing page-turner on a subject too rarely treated in literary fiction. Daffenberg's narrator, Mike, shows us the struggle to support a family on underpaid soul-destroying jobs in a vivid succession of episodes and conversations, with glimmers of humor and humanity overcome by banality, exhaustion, disappointment, and pervasive fear because the bills can never all be paid. Mike is an aspiring writer, and sometimes turns workplace events into blog entries, which appear along with readers’ comments. Daffenberg wittily catches the tone of such exchanges, and his Mike weaves in flash-forwards and subplots to break up the bleakness of his story. But the downward spiral continues and an unforseen blow brings things to an edge of utter hopelessness…until Daffenberg pulls off a resolution of the real-world kind that is anything but a neatly tied-up bow but feels just right."

Amazon Review

"I really enjoyed this ebook. It is written in a sparse style that is easily accessible and the use of the blog entries among the narrative add humor to what is in fact a tough account of one man trying to find his way in a corrupt and unfair world."

Barnes & Noble Review

"AN AMERICAN GOSPEL gives an unsparing account of the brutal realities of life for a great proportion of Americans, people who struggled to get an education, serve their country, raise their kids yet find themselves struggling to pay the bills as they labor in fast-food joints, convenience stores, nursing homes. Mr. Daffenberg does not shrink from showing the conditions of economic survival and the daily psychological and emotional battering this inflicts. At the same time, he conveys the tenacity, humor, love, kindness and inspiration that enable people not just to survive but to triumph and find hope amid hopelessness. It's a brave and inspiring book."

Douglas Penick