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Geography Of The Heart Paperback – June 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (June 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671009834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671009830
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #597,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1990, Larry Rose, the partner of novelist Fenton Johnson, died of complications from AIDS. In Geography of the Heart, Fenton, author of Scissors, Paper, Rock, Songs of the Soil, and Crossing the River, honors Rose with a beautifully written memoir. Alternating between his own story and Rose's as far back as childhood, Johnson fashions a moving portrait of the man who was "a teacher, [who] taught me how to love." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Novelist Johnson (Scissors, Paper, Rock) watched his lover, San Francisco high-school teacher Larry Rose, die of AIDS in a Paris hospital in 1990 after an intense three-year relationship. Rose was HIV-positive but asymptomatic when they met, and while their lovemaking was haunted by fear of contagion, the author remains HIV-negative. Rose, the only child of German Jewish Holocaust survivors?his father, Leo, was imprisoned and beaten by the Nazis in Holland, escaped and hid for three years with broken vertebrae?had a very different background from that of Johnson, who grew up Catholic and the youngest of nine in an isolated Appalachian town in Kentucky. Johnson writes with crystal clarity of his gradual acceptance by his lover's emigrant parents, of coming out to his own widowed mother at 31, of Rose's gradual physical deterioration and of his working through grief toward emotional renewal. This is a remarkable memoir, touching, funny, searing, eloquent, beautifully alive.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
It's a blessing to find love.
Shirley A. Blair Keller
Answering it, he crafts a beautiful and lasting tribute to Rose's memory.
Bill Coan
This is a timeless and BEAUTIFULLY written book.
Alice Sebold

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Waren on February 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know the true meaning of "Love", read this book! Mr. Johnson has written a highly moving and emotional account of his life's journey with his (now deceased) partner-Larry Rose. Two men who came together from two extremely different upbringings shared a life a love together that few of us ever have a chance to have, yet we all yearn for. Their individual families histories alone are worth reading! The writing is strong and effective, although I did have a few problems with it in spots. I cannot deny feeling nothing but joy at having the opportunity to read this excellent book! In an age where the AIDS crisis seems to be forgotten this is an all to important account of how all lives have changed and is a great testament and history lesson to remind us all. Highly recommended!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By "d_moi" on June 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
Rarely does a book come along which changes the way you see things. Johnson writes with such command and passion that you are immediatly drawn into his world. I started this book when I was in low spirits and the book quickly made me see the brighter sides of life. Although, its about the death of the loved one the way Johnson writes it doesnt make it fall into the catergory of a b-rate tear jerker. Its more about coming to terms with love, death and life. The reasons to live are the central plot rather then the reasons to die.
I weeped at times but at times inwardily smiled because Johnsons perceptions and fears are so human, just like the rest of us!
I suggest this book strongly for all those who want to get a little closer to reality.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Peggy Vincent on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Two very dissimilar men meet in San Francisco, fall in love, and one cares for the other as he dies of AIDS in Paris in 1990. That's it, on the surface. But Fenton Johnson's exquisite memoir goes much deeper to explore the depths of a relationship that didn't stand much chance when it began. Rose, HIV+ but aware of his status, was asymptomatic when he met Fenton. Rose was the only child of Holocaust survivors whose father escaped the Nazis and hid for three years with broken vertebrae. Fenton, OTOH, grew up the youngest of nine in a Catholic family in isolated Appalachia.
Johnson writes with crystal clarity of his working through fear, toward grief and into eventual emotional renewal.
Beautiful.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Alice Sebold on July 3, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fenton Johnson has done, in Geography of the Heart, something that I have failed to see in memoirs that sold more and had a higher profile upon publication. He has brought us on a journey, yes, but with a purpose larger than exploring strange characters or landscapes. Through the death -- and the life -- of his partner, Larry Rose, he learned what it was to be human within a world of others. How to share, to cherish, to give, and to need. This memoir is both an act of redemption for Johnson, but even more so, he shares the possibility of redemption with his readers. All we have to do is be available to the possibilities around us. Available to what Larry Rose, in his particular case, had to give. This is a timeless and BEAUTIFULLY written book. It is what memoir should seek to be. More than story. Transcendent.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "critias" on May 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read a review of this when it first came out and felt that I had to read it. The emotion is so true and heartfelt. I felt the sadness as Fenton and Larry realized they would eventually lose each other because of AIDS. The story of their relationship is a testimony to the strength found in relationships of all kinds. This book helped me appreciate love and my sexuality. It's a must read for all who love life and want to feel how true homosexual love can be.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Carnicelli on December 22, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fenton Johnson's memoir of his partner's death is one of the most touching and honest accounts of love I have ever read. And it is Johnson's tremendous talent as a writer that enables him to convey such powerful and enduring feelings without being the slightest bit sentimental.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Shirley A. Blair Keller on August 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Fenton Johnson shared a universal journey of love that crosses color, sex, religions...any and all boundaries. It's a blessing to find love. I thank him with all my heart for writing this book and know that when he was able to get on with his life he discovered a new strength that is a reward of love given in such a manner.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
It is rare that I consider a book to be a true work of art...Fenton Johnson has made that happen and I congratulate him on his tremendous work. It is a story 'from-the-heart' and as a reader it is a treasure and a privilege to be given the opportunity to 'participate' in a love story such as this. I could not lay it down, even for coffee!!...I laughed, I cried, I was warmed inside...I could smell the hush puppies..it was a wonderful experience for me...I will remember!
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