David Adams Cleveland Love's Attraction

ISBN 13: 9780988902206

Love's Attraction

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9780988902206: Love's Attraction
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From literary Concord to the backwater canals of Venice, Love's Attraction takes readers on a tantalizing and thought-provoking journey as Michael Collins, a Washington political fixer facing an impending bribery scandal, is suddenly confronted with a past he never knew and a legacy of heartbreak and deception from which he failed to escape.

Michael Collins is returning to Lowell, the derelict mill city of his childhood, and the funeral of his estranged brother. Driving route 128, he finds himself compelled to stop in nearby Concord and at Emerson Academy, where his precocious youth as a talented pianist and dreams of a rowing scholarship to Harvard ended in devastating scandal. In his senior year, he--the "Lowell-boy"--fell deeply in love with the winsome Sandra Palmer, a blueblood Yankee from an illustrious Concord family, who inexplicably betrayed him--a bitter expulsion that led him down a path he finds himself regretting each day. As Michael revisits scenes of their love affair twenty years later, Sandra's forthright integrity--the passionate and sensitive artist he remembers--shines forth and their wrenching breakup makes less and less sense.

Leaving the Lowell cemetery on the following day, Michael is almost run down by a red pickup truck, perhaps a warning to keep his mouth shut in an upcoming grand jury investigation. Michael decides to disappear by disguising himself as a Thoreau scholar, hiding out in plain sight at the historic Concord Inn. From this oddly liberating vantage point--the life he never had--he discovers the shocking news of Sandra Palmer's recent suicide at Harvard. Made even more troubling when he learns that Sandra had a twin sister, "helter-skelter" Angela Palmer, seventies radical and eighties porn star and internet entrepreneur, who seemingly disappeared around the same time as her sister's senseless suicide.

With the FBI closing in, Michael's investigation into Sandra Palmer's untimely death transforms into an odyssey of discovery about her family's glittering if troubled past: A search for love and redemption that will finally draw him back to his own family roots in Venice. And to the Venice of 1914 as limned in the diary of Sandra's grandfather, the once famous painter, friend to Singer Sargent and Whistler, Joseph Palmer ... where yet another tale of deceit and obsession unfolds about the artist's pianist wife and model--Sandra Palmer's namesake, who befriended a poor Venetian stonecutter in the months before World War One. The tragedy of this talented woman's death--she played Boston's Symphony Hall at sixteen--created the world that the young Michael and Sandra unwittingly inherited.

Love's Attraction is a mysterious, romantic novel that explores universal themes of identity: how memory (or its lack), talent and intemperate desires--embodied in art as well as in our genes--are passed down through families to influence our hidden selves. The novel speaks to the role of metamorphosis in our lives and how the transforming elixir of love's attraction makes us most fully human.

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About the Author:

David Adams Cleveland is a novelist and art historian. His latest novel, Time's Betrayal, is just out from Fomite Press. Pulitzer prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler call Time's Betrayal, "a vast, rich,endlessly absorbing novel engaging with the great and enduring theme of literary art, the quest for identity." Bruce Olds, two-time Pulitzer nominated author, described Time's Betrayal as a "monumental work . . . in a league of its own and class by itself . . . a large-hearted American epic that deserves the widest possible, most discriminating of readerships."  In summer, 2014, his second novel, Love's Attraction, became the top-selling hardback fiction for Barnes & Noble in New England. Fictionalcities.uk included Love's Attraction on its list of top novels for 2013.  His first novel, With a Gemlike Flame, drew wide praise for its evocation of Venice and the hunt for a lost masterpiece by Raphael.  His most recent art history book, A History of American Tonalism, won the Silver Medal in Art History in the Book of the Year Awards, 2010; and Outstanding Academic Title 2011 from the American Library Association; it was the best selling American art history book in 2011 and 2012.  David was a regular reviewer for Artnews, and has written for The Magazine Antiques, the American Art Review, and Dance Magazine. For almost a decade, he was the Arts Editor at Voice of America.  He and his wife live in New York where he works as an art adviser with his son, Carter Cleveland, founder of Artsy.net, the new internet site making all the world's art accessible to anyone with an internet connection.  More about David and his publications can be found on his author site: davidadamscleveland.com.

Review:

Operating on many levels, Love's Attraction, by Princeton art historian, and Vineyard visitor, David Cleveland, is a spellbinding journey of identities, inheritance, art, secrets, and inexplicable passion, whatever 'passion' might imply. We follow the increasingly intriguing characters as they careen through Concord, Venice, DC, Cambridge as well as their complex familial histories. For those of us who are recovering English majors this 543 page tome has everything we require - Cleveland is a literate writer of staggering talent. I could not put it down!
-- Eleanor Hubbard, NPR's 'On Point: Books of the Year'

Love's Attraction is a gripper of a romantic novel. Cleveland writes with great gusto and zest, real richness and sensuality. Love's Attraction contains all of the best elements of an intelligent reader's page-turner.
-- Evan Thomas, award-winning author of "The Wise Men," "Very Best Men" and "Ike's Bluff."

Thwarted adolescent love, family secrets, art, and Thoreau converge in this gothic family-history novel... Moving between Concord and Venice...this is a twisty, atmospheric tale, leisurely told, about love and creativity, grief and pain, family and identity. The themes of art and obsession may appeal to fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History (1992), while the outsider's exploration of a gothicly messed-up family may beckon to fans of Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale (2006).
-- Susan Maguire, Booklist

I was reminded of Richard Russo's The Bridge of Sighs in the book's family concerns and allusive Venetian elements, but the flavour of Venice is much more pervasive here. Anne Tyler springs to mind too. Venice is constantly in the background, in paintings, as an inspiration, and as the place where people were born and changed and died. Matters of art and the heart dominate the whole book and Venice is where it's all leading. I'd be recommending you read this moving and stimulating novel even without the lure of the power of its Venetian scenes, and so with them it comes hugely recommended.
--Fictional Cities

A beautiful, expansive novel that travels engagingly from literary Concord to timeless Venice, and moves intriguingly across generations. The kaleidoscopic story blends mystery, art, and romance while giving new insights into the secrets of love and the power of identity.
--Janice Kaplan, New York Times bestselling author of "I'll See You Again."

Michael Collins, a political operative, is in hiding in Concord, Mass., posing as a Thoreau scholar, when he decides to investigate the suicide of the love of his life, Sandra. Mixing artists, family connections and Venice, Cleveland has crafted a classic summer read.
-- Shelf Awareness

A Hidden Work of Art
Love’s attraction: one of the mysteries of life that Henry David Thoreau pondered and never solved. In both his first novel, With a Gem-Like Flame, and now his second one, David Adams Cleveland, an author who is not yet well known but deserves to be, wraps a pair of lovers in multiple layers of mystery, chipping away like an obsessed art restorer through contemporary grit until a nearly-forgotten masterpiece begins to emerge... The psychological mystery that is at the heart of this novel begins in the land where the Transcendentalists trod, along the Concord and Merrimack Rivers...The brilliant brushstrokes of language and the perilous allure of three generations of Palmers were a serendipitous discovery for me.
-- Jan Alexander, The Neworld Review

David Adams Cleveland's new book, "Love's Attraction," is going against the grain. In an age of digital media and 140 character tweets, Cleveland 600-page tome traces Michael Collins through his transformation into William Channing, a Thoreau scholar, while he tries to discover the secrets of his own past. It's a stunningly beautiful book, with parallel characters and double identities, a mix of Ken Follett's scope with Thomas Hardy's sense of place as a person integral to the plot.
-- Portland Sun

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