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The Heart of It All

The Heart of It All

Current price: $19.99
Publication Date: September 12th, 2023
Publisher:
Melville House
ISBN:
9781685890810
Pages:
368
Rozzie Bound Co-op
1 on hand, as of Dec 7 6:12pm
(Fiction )
On Our Shelves Now

The Heart of It All’s beauty is its subtlety. Set in working-class Ohio, it shows the struggles and grace of people for whom the American Dream has slipped away. This is not a tale of good or evil, it’s a bridge to understand our modern times.

Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
September 2023 Indie Next List

Description

"Deeply moving and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down." — Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

"For anyone who believes, as I do, that the best hope for our fractured country is local, not national, Christian Kiefer’s new novel The Heart of it All will provide a welcome balm for the spirit. Here are people worth spending time with, not because they’re perfect, but because they’re not. What’s wrong with them isn’t nearly as consequential as how hard they fight for a better life, and not just for themselves. You set the book down and think, ‘This is what we’re made of.’ Or should be."—Richard Russo, author of Somebody’s Fool

A small, declining town in Ohio. A family bereaved by terrible loss. A searing narrative about how American lives touch each other across divides both real and imagined...

Set in failing small town in central Ohio, The Heart of It All asks how one manages, in an America of increasing division, to find a sense of family and community.

Focusing on the members of three families: the Baileys, a white family who have put down deep roots in the community; the Marwats, an immigrant family that owns the town’s largest employer; and the Shaws, especially young Anthony, an outsider whose very presence gently shakes the town’s understanding of itself.

A gorgeous, stirring novel in the classic vein of Richard Ford, Marilynne Robinson, Richard Russo, and Kent Haruf, The Heart of It All asks the reader to consider an America both divided and bound by its differences.

About the Author

Christian Kiefer has a PhD in American literature from the University of California–Davis and directs the low-residency MFA at Ashland University. He is the author of three novels: The Infinite Tides, The Animals, and most recently Phantoms which was one of Kirkus Reviews and BBC’s Best Books of 2019. He lives with his family in Placer County, California.

Praise for The Heart of It All

"Indispensable reading."The Christian Science Monitor

"A superlative novel"The Akron Beacon Journal

"For anyone who believes, as I do, that the best hope for our fractured country is local, not national, Christian Kiefer’s new novel The Heart of it All will provide a welcome balm for the spirit.  Here are people worth spending time with, not because they’re perfect, but because they’re not.  What’s wrong with them isn’t nearly as consequential as how hard they fight for a better life, and not just for themselves.  You set the book down and think, ‘This is what we’re made of.’  Or should be."—Richard Russo, author of Somebody’s Fool

"Engaging. Exquisite. [A] loving tribute to family and community strengthened by adversity." -- San Francisco City Book Review

"Stunning ... In powerful, lyrical prose, Kiefer offers a sympathetic portrait of a community in search of solace." — Jane Ciabattari, LitHub

"Deeply moving and beautifully written. I couldn't put it down." — Jesmyn Ward, author of Sing, Unburied, Sing

With The Heart of It All, the always brilliant Christian Kiefer offers readers a portrait of contemporary America that is deeply insightful, often surprising, and tenderly, beautifully observed." —Lauren Groff, author of Matrix

"Recalls Richard Russo’s Nobody’s Fool...Kiefer has a sympathetic and probing eye that gives his characters solidity, kindling empathy and anxiety...A thoughtful look at those just getting by from a writer who deserves to be known."— Kirkus Reviews, STARRED Review

"Sublimely crafted...an exquisitely wrought and insightful look at how people deal with misfortune and inequities." — Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review

"Kiefer successfully gives each character a distinct voice and place...This book is a
sincere attempt to remind us that, at the end of the day, we are all human." — Booklist

The Heart of It All somehow manages to pull and push ferociously without ever hurting. Christian Kiefer has created an absolutely beautiful book unafraid of our fear. Astonishing.” — Kiese Laymon, author, Heavy: An American Memoir

"Set in a crumbling small town in the Ohio Rust Belt, The Heart of It All, should be required reading not only for anyone wanting to understand our country as it exists today, with all its hatred, divisiveness, and economic disparity, but also for those who wish to know how to be a decent human being even as the American Dream recedes further and further into the past.  It is a truly beautiful achievement."—Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time & The Heavenly Table

"A brilliant novel." -- Marvin Olasky, author of The Tragedy of American Compassion
                                                                                                                     
"If you want to find out the kind of novel that an offspring of Richard Russo and Alice Munro would write, look no further. Christian is a great writer." —Rabih Alameddine, author of An Unnecessary Woman

"This beautifully structured ensemble novel is Altmanesque in its complex, subtle intertwining of the lives of small-town Ohio factory workers and their families. Bringing together a diverse variety of voices, Kiefer weaves together a haunting, heartbreaking and empathetic portrait of contemporary America."—Dan Chaon, author of Sleepwalk

"Kiefer deftly lulls you into his characters’ lives, afloat in their isolation, before they swell into a cresting, spangled wave powered by pain and angst, that sweeps you ashore waiting to exhale." Musharraf Ali Farooqi, author of Between Clay and Dust