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The Constant Heart Hardcover – September 11, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Constant Heart

“…An evocative family yarn…Nova has again produced expertly drawn characters and carefully measured, suspenseful prose with some surprises, all with undertones orbiting around Einstein’s cosmological constant theory of relativity.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred)

"[A] psychologically intriguing and richly metaphorical plot is irradiated by rhapsodic visions of celestial forces and earthy glory and trouble. A heart-jolting yet solicitous tale fueled by Nova’s passionate reminder that not all men are brutes."—Booklist

"Of the writers writing in America today, [Nova] is one of the very greatest. [The Constant Heart is] a book of excellence worthy of our approval and support."—Michael Silverblatt, "Bookworm"

“Honor, destiny, caprice, oblivion — Nova's novel parlays them all into a life-and-death struggle filled with moments (a surreal appliance-store holdup, a good-guys/bad-guys chase across the wilds of upstate New York) that feel as elemental as they are revealing of human foible and character.” —The Seattle Times

"[A] meditative, philosophical, and beautifully realized novel about the nature of embattled American manhood. Both Jake and his father are deeply sympathetic characters, and Nova celebrates perhaps most fundamentally here the compassionate and honorable way they treat the women in their lives…discussions of Einstein's theory of relativity are interspersed throughout the novel, providing a fascinating thematic element related to the search for something constant in a world defined by change and instability. This is a novel of deep maturity and thoughtfulness.” —Library Journal

“Superb in prose and its evocations of character and nature, The Constant Heart is a wonderful novel by a writer whose range continues to dazzle me. As a writer, I marveled at the pure scope of Nova's gifts as a storyteller. As a reader, I simply enjoyed my ride through the emotional heart of this affecting novel.” —Oscar Hijuelos

About the Author

Craig Nova is the award-winning author of twelve novels and one autobiography. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men's Journal, among others. He has received an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2005 he was named Class of 1949 Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; First Edition edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619020238
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619020238
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,459,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Dawson on December 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First-person narrator Jake is an astronomer and professor at a university in upstate New York. This novel is his story of his relationship with Sara, a rebellious and lost woman Jake first fell in love with as a teenager. This is also the story of Jake's relationship with his saintly but passive father. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, Jake and his father go fishing. They pack their gear, park the car at the trailhead, and hike ten miles up the Furnace Creek to find the best fly fishing spots. Jake and his father encounter many difficult problems, including infidelity, near-fatal experiences, and cancer, but they always find solace in the Creek and in each other's company.

The Constant Heart is a philosophical novel about dignity and fidelity and what it means to be a truly good person. It's also about difficult relationships and flawed people and how to survive in a morally bankrupt world without succumbing to the pressure to compromise. Jake views his world through his knowledge of astronomy, giving the novel an otherworldly haze. I was captivated by Craig Nova's beautiful, constrained prose and by his female characters, which contained so much more vigor than the male characters. I liked this novel enough to buy another novel by Nova. (Thanks for the recommendation Michael Silverblatt!)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm so glad this novel is finally getting some attention. I saw the same mention of a year's end best books in The Guardian. When I saw absolutely no one had reviewed this book on Amazon it made me leary. But I'm so glad I read it. I've read Mr. Nova's books in this past and this stands up with his best work. I really hope the world hasnt't given up on literate fiction like this. It is like an Updike and a Cheever and an O'Hara novel. It has some of Diokey's Deliverance in their too. But Nova is an original and his female characters in this book will break your heart. Loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Roth on April 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Extraordinarily moving and articulate. Describes complex emotions with clinical precision, and creates indelible characters, part Bellow, part Hemingway. The romantic union of true wits and a father/son bond for the ages. Rocks you to the core.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By scott saalman on June 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading a novel that I stumbled upon in the library last week, The Constant Heart, by Craig Nova. It's the best book I have read in a very long time. It's always a wonderful feeling to have a writer you never knew a week before become one of your favorite writers a week later. This is why I read; this is why I try to write.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bill Petillo on January 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Occasionally you will buy a book and then not like it. Perhaps the first pages were misleading. Perhaps you liked other books by the author. Perhaps you were swayed by glowing reviews. It happens. But this is the first time I feel like I have been cheated and deserve my money back.

Events in the story defy belief. Don't believe me? Try this one. A man goes into a car dealership. He does not want to buy a car. He just needs a friendly ear to talk about his desperate need for a kidney. Oh wait, the sales person has one behind the desk. I kid you not.

How about running into a girl friend and an armed robber simultaneously? How about the urban bad guys following the good guys deeper and deeper into the wilderness for no apparent reason. How about dumping a corpse into an abandoned well, then realizing that you left the car keys in their pocket.

Oh, and relationships. There are two women in the story. One must have great smelling hair because it is mentioned so much, but has spent a lifetime making one bad decision after another. The other is a cardboard cutout who leaves her husband and son to smoke dope in an ashram. Wait, there was a third woman, a Fascist librarian.

I read one or two books a week. This is by the far the worst piece of trash I've read in years.
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