In this emotional tale of haunted love, CELESTIAL MECHANICS’s Silas Fortunato finds himself locked in a marriage descending toward darkness until the arrival of his sister-in-law and soon thereafter the appearance of a witching neighbor who may or may not be alive. In ways enigmatic, ghostly, and funny, the three women draw him into the equivocal nature of dreams and reality, their influences leading Silas on a journey toward what may be light and a new belonging to something vastly beyond him.
The debut novel of famed Blue Highways author William Least Heat-Moon, CELESTIAL MECHANICS embarks on a journey through the mind and wrestles with life’s major questions, like the nature of the Cosmos, the value of knowledge, and the essence of truly being alive. Heat-Moon has already proven he is a master at taking readers on powerful journeys as shown in his initial release Blue Highways, which spent 42 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. CELESTIAL MECHANICS is a Blue Highways of the mind, in which the author leads readers on a path unlike any other, offering new insight into finding one’s place in this universe we struggle to understand.
When Silas Fortunato applies for an editorial position for the “spirituality” section of a local newspaper, he is asked to fill in a bubble sheet to mark his religion. The problem is, his beliefs don’t fall within any of the categories. Silas believes that selflessness enlarges vision and that what a person should strive for is to be overcome by the beyond. He believes in honoring otherness and in giving questions credence over certainty. He calls himself a Cosmoterian because his goal is to make himself worthy of the majesty of Cosmos. Silas is a man driven by big ideas, but it is the everyday smallness that perpetually both intrigues and eludes him.
In this emotional tale of haunted love, Silas finds himself locked in a marriage descending toward darkness until the arrival of his sister-in-law and soon thereafter the appearance of a witching neighbor who may or may not be alive. In ways enigmatic, ghostly, and funny, the three women draw him into the equivocal nature of dreams and reality, their influences leading Silas on a journey toward what may be light and a new belonging to something vastly beyond himself.
Just as William Least Heat-Moon’s nonfiction employs many fictional narrative techniques, Celestial Mechanics draws upon nonfictional devices to build a story that crosses traditional boundaries between the two. Celestial Mechanics is the clarion call of a generation that believes rationality and spirituality can—and should—coexist, a generation defined by globalization, where the only things left unknown are what is within and beyond us, those cosmic realms revealed by the telescope and the quantum world suggested by the microscope. This book is for those of us steeped in a hustle-and-bustle world we can’t escape, who believe that practices like mindfulness and rational deduction and childlike wonder are the keys to the kind of fulfillment that the commercial aspects of our lives can never hope to address.
“In 1982, William Least Heat-Moon (a nom de plume reflecting his Native American heritage) broke onto the travel-writing scene with Blue Highways, an acclaimed memoir of his trek across America’s back roads. Although this first work of fiction may initially seem like an inspired detour, the author’s fans will readily recognize Heat-Moon’s alter ego in the novel’s protagonist, Silas Fortunado, an incurably inquisitive writer. The novel’s philosophically rich story line follows Silas’ search for greater meaning in his life through his complicated relationships with three women: Dominique, his newlywed wife, whose pragmatism and disdain for his inherited woodlands home ultimately dooms their marriage; Celeste, Dominique’s younger sister, whose ambivalence about her life in a convent is heightened by her correspondence with the religiously skeptical Silas; and Kyzmyt, a modern-day witch and Silas’ dreamlike mentor. Each spurs Silas on an entrancing journey toward deeper insight into the cosmos, an exploration readers will share and savor with every masterfully crafted sentence. Highly recommended for fans of Heat-Moon and readers who enjoy philosophical fiction.” —Booklist