Heart-Side Up

Barbara Dimmick

Published by Graywolf Press, 2002
ISBN 10: 1555973620 / ISBN 13: 9781555973629
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Days pass. She grows accustomed to how the saw bursts into life. She makes it roar, quiets it, by adjustments of choke and throttle. In time, she pulls the start cord with a little flourish. Like a boy in a fairy tale with an enchanted sword, she lops off deadfall with mere touches of the blade's rotating teeth, branches the size of her thumb, her wrist, her upper arm. She finds herself ankle-deep, shin-deep, knee-deep in what she has cut, discovers that a forest takes up a whole lot more room when you cut it into pieces and pile it on the ground.

Zoe is attacked in the classroom by a bright-eyed boy who gives no warning. The searing scars from the strokes of the knife are a constant reminder that she is not safe, ever. Clutching her bottle of anti-anxiety pills, she goes to the mountains of Vermont to find Dayton, the man she lost to God years before.

Dayton is living in a controversial monastery, so isolated and extreme that the Catholic Church does not acknowledge it. Impulsively, Zoe buys a half-finished house with no running water, no heat. The only town for miles is Shroveton, whose inhabitants are immediately suspicious of Zoe's arrival and place bets as to whether or not she will last the winter. But it is here, through the back-breaking labor of felling trees, fetching water, and keeping warm-- with the help of a dog named Gus-- that Zoe is able to be near Dayton, but at a safe distance.

Strange signs of resentment and anger, however, creep into her new life. Someone leaves a gutted doe on her property, hacks off her dog's tail, and haunts her dreams. Ultimately, Zoe is forced to confront her deepest fears: bodily danger and the truth about Dayton.

In Heart-Side Up, Barbara Dimmick delves into the darkness of fear, love, and trust, and shows that prayer can be the rhythm of hard work and salvation, simply the process of surviving.

From the Back Cover:

"Barbara Dimmick comes as close to precision as one can in a field that doesn't allow it: love. Zoe, of Heart-Side Up, faces her challenges with grace, fear, and a good dog. It was a pleasure and honor to stand by her side for the length of the book."
--Joe Coomer

Praise for In the Presence of Horses

"All the traditional lingo and lore tucked into Barbara Dimmick's first novel is evidence of her inspired pursuit of her favorite animal, the horse."--The New York Times Book Review

"Dimmick will keep readers intrigued as she injects suspenseful incidents into the narrative.... Absorbing."--Publishers Weekly

"It's been a long time since I've read a well-written novel about horses that was salted with equine details right on target.... Dimmick really knows her stuff.... Instantly puts In the Presence of Horses heads above Nicholas Evans' The Horse Whisperer."--The Orlando Sentinel

"Dimmick's first novel, a story of loss and grief set in Pennsylvania's rolling countryside, is engrossing and thoughtful."--Booklist

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Heart-Side Up
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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