by William Least Heat-Moon
“In his fiction debut, Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) stages philosophical and spiritual debates in an elegant story of one man’s search for meaning in the cosmos. . . . This thought-provoking novel is rife with relatable and complex musings.” Publishers Weekly
“The author of the best-selling travel memoir Blue Highways makes his fiction debut with this erudite novel that touches on a multitude of areas, including science, theology, philosophy, and psychiatry. . . . Definitely for fans of philosophical novels and Least Heat-Moon’s nonfiction.” — Library Journal
“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
“Imaginative work about a quest for true connection.” —Foreword Reviews
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.
Just as 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. It 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 readers steeped in a hustle-and-bustle world that seems impossible to escape; for those who believe that practices like mindfulness and rational deduction and childlike wonder are the keys to the kind of fulfillment commercial aspects of life can never hope to address.
CELESTIAL MECHANICS: A Tale for a Mid-Winter Night
by William Least Heat-Moon
408 pages; $28.00; TRP-064
Publication date: Tuesday, April 11, 2017
To request a complementary desk copy or exam copy, please email Three Rooms Press at firstname.lastname@example.org
High Praise for CELESTIAL MECHANICS
“In his fiction debut, Heat-Moon (Blue Highways) stages philosophical and spiritual debates in an elegant story of one man’s search for meaning in the cosmos. . . . This thought-provoking novel is rife with relatable and complex musings.” —Publishers Weekly
“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. Other travel-related works, including the more recent Here, There, Elsewhere (2013), followed. 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
“The author of the best-selling travel memoir Blue Highways makes his fiction debut with this erudite novel that touches on a multitude of areas, including science, theology, philosophy, and psychiatry. . . . Definitely for fans of philosophical novels and Least Heat-Moon’s nonfiction.” —Library Journal
“Both a journey and the musings of a philosophical mind.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A sprawling, fantastical work about a man’s spiritual journey, Celestial Mechanics is the first novel by William Least Heat-Moon, who is well-known for his best-selling Blue Highways.
This is imaginative work about a man’s quest for true connection.” — Foreword Reviews
Previous Praise for WILLIAM LEAST HEAT-MOON
Blue Highways: A Journey into America
“Wondrous . . . brilliant . . . a stunningly good book.” —The New York Times
PrairyErth: A Deep Map
“Our modern-day Walden.” —The Chicago Sun-Times
River-Horse: The Logbook of a Boat Across America
“A rich chronicle of a massive and meaningful undertaking.” —Publishers Weekly
Here, There and Everywhere: Stories from the Road
“An essential title; highly recommended.” —Library Journal
About William Least Heat-Moon
WILLIAM LEAST HEAT-MOON, pen name of William Trogdon, is of English, Irish, and Osage ancestry. He lives in Missouri on an old tobacco farm he’s returning to forest.
His first book, Blue Highways, tells of a 13,000-mile journey around America on back roads. His second work, PrairyErth, is a narrative exploration into a corner of the great tallgrass prairie in eastern Kansas. River-Horse gives an account of his four-month sea-to-sea voyage across the United States on rivers, lakes, and canals. In Roads to Quoz, Heat-Moon sets out for a half-dozen American destinations that have long intrigued him. Here, There, Elsewhere brings together a collection of his short-form reportage about places around the world.
His five major books and the recent Writing Blue Highways have never been out of print. CELESTIAL MECHANICS is his first novel.