March 1st, 2017
Woke up this morning to what the morning-radio meteorologists called a “snowburst”, but what looked to me like a blizzard.Less than a week ago it was sixty degrees or more, and I could see the gallant green shoots and brave purple buds of wildflowers springing out of the spongy field north of our house.Now, the world is again cloaked in snow.
In less than a week my third book, “The Hearts of Men”, will be released in the United States (it is already available in France and Italy).I take some pride in my reticence or inability to “sell” my work, that is to say, to perform a sales spiel, a sales pitch.And I’m not on Twitter or Instagram or most of the ubiquitous social-media platforms of our time, which I’m sure, somewhat limits my so-called reach, as it were.Then again, neither was my literary hero Jim Harrison, or for that matter, Marilynne Robinson or Cormac McCarthy.I always figured that if I wanted to talk to Harrison, I had to buy his books or attend one of his readings (which my friend Swan and I did, back around 2003, in Milwaukee)…But I want you to know that “The Hearts of Men” is, to me, a novel about unlikely friendship and loyalty.It’s about love and heartbreak, marriage and divorce.It’s about subscribing to a code – a code of conduct, a moral code.And it’s about the Boy Scouts, baseball, and our rapidly deteriorating natural world.If you liked “Shotgun Lovesongs”, I think you will find much to enjoy about “The Hearts of Men”.
I’ll be out on the road this next year, visiting bookstores, libraries, and literary festivals.This is my opportunity to talk to readers, and to thank them for supporting my career.And, come late spring, it will be time to buckle down and finish my third novel, which has been inspired by the writings of Kent Haruf, Wendell Berry, and my old teacher, James Alan McPherson.
I hope our paths will cross.But if they don’t, happy reading to you.