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Deep in the Heart

Warner, Sharon Oard

26 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 038532006X / ISBN 13: 9780385320061
Published by Dial Press, New York, NY, U.S.A., 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Kennedy Books (Jamestown, ND, U.S.A.)

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FINE/FINE unread copy protected by Archival Brodart cover. Advance Reading Copy. Dial Press "Compliments," card laid in. Nicely signed on title page. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 000752

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Deep in the Heart

Publisher: Dial Press, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


"Deep in the Heart is a stunning novel. Sharon Oard Warner accomplishes the magical act of making each mundane life significant, each small pain or pleasure alarmingly real, each sentence a marvelous achievement. Deep in the Heart is a novel one can finish but never walk away from, a superbly crafted story that will keep reading itself to you for a long time."
--Louis Owens, author of Nightland

In the tradition of John Irving's The Cider House Rules and Sue Miller's The Good Mother, this emotionally charged debut novel explores the moral complexities surrounding one of the most controversial issues in American culture.

In her own sheltered corner of Austin, Texas, twenty-three-year-old Penny Reed is taking her first tentative steps toward independence. Until now, her world has been narrowly defined--by her devout grandmother, Mattie, and the rigid doctrine of their church, led by a charismatic young minister on a personal crusade.

On the other side of the city, Hannah Solace, an assistant principal of the local high school, is pregnant for the first time at the age of forty. Her husband, Carl, an artist who runs the bookstore at the town mall, is ecstatic, and sees the pregnancy as a chance to rekindle their faltering marriage.  But Hannah's fears about motherhood and the memories of her own painful childhood run deep, and without telling Carl, she decides to terminate the pregnancy.  At the local clinic, Hannah, Carl, and Penny come face-to-face: This single stroke of fate will have profound reverberations, forcing each of them to re-evaluate everything they have come to believe about love, motherhood, and family.
At the age of twenty-three, Penelope Reed, a young woman abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother to be devout, compliant, and hardworking, is just beginning to test her independence.  When she witnesses firsthand the destruction and pain caused by the strident demonstrations of Dr. Bill, the zealous young Harley-riding minister of her staunchly pro-life church, she calls into question the very foundation of her own beliefs.  

At forty, Hannah Solace, the beautiful assistant principal of the local high school, is pregnant for the first time. For her husband, Carl, the pregnancy is a chance to rekindle their faltering marriage, but Hannah's conscience is haunted by the memories of her own splintered childhood, and the hard realities of her students' broken-family lives. Against Carl's wishes she decides to have an abortion, setting off a chain reaction that brings together each of the novel's characters, and challenges their most deeply held ideals.

A charged, emotionally compelling debut, DEEP IN THE HEART marks the arrival of a major new voice in women's fiction. -->


Sharon Oard Warner offers a key to her ambitious debut, Deep in the Heart, in one character's experiment in "intentional pentimento": "Pentimento referred to the way an old painting sometimes found its way to the surface of a newer one, rising like a phantom. Back when canvas was hard to come by, artists often whited out their less successful pieces and started over. But the old painting wasn't always gone. Sometimes, bits and pieces of it reappeared, the old forcing itself on the new." In a novel ostensibly about a woman's decision to have an abortion and its dramatic reverberations, the past remains as live and frangible and menacing as the present. Penny and Helen, two women on whom the story turns, both live in Austin, Texas. And though they never meet, each one's experiences reflect and comment on the other's with an understated complexity.

Penny is a reluctant member of the Gospel Fellowship led by Dr. Bill, an evangelical minister who is one part Garth Brooks, one part Billy Graham. He enlists his acolytes in an antiabortion protest that begins at the same clinic where Helen chooses to end a pregnancy that at 40 took her by surprise and for which she feels ill-suited. She does so without consulting her husband, Carl, and when he arrives too late to stop her, Dr. Bill finds an unwitting martyr for his campaign. The author refuses to take sides though. It would be impossible when life as she perceives it is as defiantly layered as it is changeable: Helen expertly parents teenagers in her role as assistant principal yet has not recovered from the loss of her own mother at age 16. Penny, still a virgin at 23 and raised by her formidable grandmother, thinks of love as a distant and unknowable commodity, the same way she views her mother and father respectively, and is baffled by Dr. Bill's persistent attentions. Even the minister's sanctimoniousness is steeped in real loss. Every moment is freighted with others. As casually as Deep in the Heart seems to proceed--taking you from a mall to a girl's high school bathroom with humor and affection--it is firm in its message of tolerance and its perception that even destruction and everyday accidents can be blessings. --Amy Grace Loyd

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