by Paul Cody

Publisher:  Viking

Pub Date:  Spring 2004

Format:   Hardcover

Brief Description
Earl Madden comes to on the locked ward of a state mental hospital, in a state of physic fracture, thinking that he has - possibly/probably - killed his wife. Did he or didn't he?  A new novel by the critically-acclaimed author.
(see below for Full Description)


Review and Endorsement Highlights
“Cody writes with an elegance and dignity that deserve recognition.”


"SHOOTING THE HEART is perhaps the best novel by an American writer who's in a class by himself. I can think of no one else who writes with Cody's combination of savagery and tenderness, or who deploys such a translucent style to such reverberant effect. Cody's works are like moonscapes with oceans buried beneath; the surface may be pitiless and scarred, but from the depths (if you care to listen) sound the mournful calls and hopeful whispers of strange, wonderful life." 
-Brian Hall

"Paul Cody reaches deep into the American soul in all of his work. His books are a mix of the comforting and the terrifying, the animal chaos that lurks under civilized life. His first novel, The Stolen Child, a portrait of one victim turned predator, may be the scariest book I've ever read. Cody's grasp on our most basic fears displays itself in his narrators' obsessions. In SHOOTING THE HEART, love and the need to be forgiven drive one man to confess his (and maybe our) deepest desires, taking the reader on a frightening midnight ride." 
-Stewart O'Nan

[for previous works]

"Cody's second effort, after The Stolen Child (1995), is a novel of emotional concision and deeply felt beauty that's capable of recalling Ian McEwan and Raymond Carver…..In a style that perfectly communicates his sensation of being trapped in a downward spiral of fear and uninvited memories, [Will Ross] recollects growing up in a working-class family in the Boston suburbs….Sometimes evocative of Hemingway, Cody's prose is crisp, sinuous, and simple, yet also densely layered, like the James Joyce of Dubliners. Cody is one of our rare contemporary authors legitimately consumed by the big questions- -love, death, faith, sex--and he has the talent to give those questions a rightful, elegant due. Spare, dignified, relentlessly intelligent prose fiction." (First serial to Harper's) 
--Kirkus Reviews
(Eyes Like Mine)

"Cody's debut novel, The Stolen Child, appeared last year. A haunting and disturbing meditation on the life of a boy who was abducted and abused, that novel presented numerous vignettes glimpsing the child and the emotionally twisted man he grew to become. Amid the poetic cadences of its prose, Cody's latest work continues, courageously, to tread intriguing literary ground. Rather than adopting a straightforward technique, Cody rejects traditional storytelling in favor of an abstracted montage of images following Will Ross from his Irish-Catholic boyhood in a Boston suburb to graduate school at Cornell and to ultimate connection with a woman named Ann. Viewed from multiple perspectives and encapsulating a breathtaking time frame, the novel is quite dazzling."
(Eyes Like Mine)

"A skillful novel of great power, anger, and compassion."
(So Far Gone)

"Stunning….Many writers have attempted to plumb the criminal mind, but few have given us as penetrating and compassionate a portrait of both the mind and soul of a murderer as Cody does here."
--Publishers Weekly
(So Far Gone)

"This extraordinary novel renders rich and complicated the inner life of a man we might all too easily despise. What we feel in the end for Jack Connor is the fullest empathy, nothing less than love. That we're brought to this through the novel's elegant structure, sinuous prose, and beautifully rounded characters is a kind of miracle."
--Andrea Barrett
(author of The Voyage of the Narwhal )

So Far Gone is like meeting a murderer in person without the false comfort of guards and riot guns and wire-reinforced security glass between you and the killer. It's that dangerous and exciting."
--Pinckney Benedict
(author of Dogs of God and Town Smokes )

Full Description
       SHOOTING THE HEART is a novel narrated by a man in his late thirties, a former schoolteacher who taught American literature and history at a private high school for boys in Boston. Earl Madden is deeply disturbed—manic-depressive with a borderline personality, heavily sedated in a state mental hospital—and thinks he has probably/possibly killed his wife.
       As the novel progresses, Earl Madden moves back and forth in time in his mind, through periods of relative clarity and of psychic fracture—recalling an unstable childhood, his brief courtship and marriage, and his obsessions with serial killers (the Boston Strangler, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Starkweather, Richard Speck, Charles Manson—all of whose stories he tells, though they remain unnamed in the novel). He broods, too, about American history and literature, his lost parents and brother, and especially his missing wife.
       SHOOTING THE HEART is an unfolding literary mystery, as Earl searches for reality and human contact, for a coherent, cohesive narrative—of his life, of his marriage, of American violence. It is Earl’s attempt to overcome his essential loneliness, to find mercy and love in a scarred American landscape. And finally, to understand the why and if of his wife’s disappearance.

World Rights
:  Contact Viking

Dramatic RightsContact Lukeman

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