×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Celestial Mechanics: a tale for a mid-winter night
     

Celestial Mechanics: a tale for a mid-winter night

by William Least Heat-Moon
 

See All Formats & Editions

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

Overview

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. 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Philosophically rich story line. . . . 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.” —ALA 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

“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. CELESTIAL MECHANICS is imaginative work about a man’s quest for true connection.” —Foreword Reviews

“Both a journey and the musings of a philosophical mind.” —Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2017-01-23
Now in his late 70s, Least Heat-Moon ventures for the first time into fiction writing, and as one might expect from the author of Blue Highways (1982), the narrative involves both a journey and the musings of a philosophical mind.Silas Fortunato is indeed fortunate to run into Dominique "Dolores" Heppermann in a random encounter, and he's immediately intrigued, feeling he's perhaps found a soul mate and sharer of his metaphysical meanderings. Silas courts her in his quirky and esoteric way, trying to engage her interest in compasses and armillary spheres. Eventually they marry and live in Old Sachem Hill, his ancestral home. Silas self-identifies as a "Cosmoterian"—someone who sees all existence as omnipotent—yet this scarcely clarifies the arcane nature of his beliefs. When Dominique's sister Celeste, an aspiring nun questioning her vocation, comes to visit, Silas begins to see that he has more in common with his sister-in-law than with his wife. In fact, Dominique starts to break away from Silas' effusive and unconventional intellect by taking a job as a real estate agent. She does well, but while at a convention in Las Vegas with her boss, she takes off in a private plane that mysteriously disappears. Deeply concerned, Silas hires detective Chamberlain Beckett to find out what happened, but during Beckett's investigation Silas goes on a balloon ride and is injured in a fall. Celeste returns from the convent to help tend him, and despite (or perhaps because of) Silas' growing depression, they begin to realize deeper feelings for each other. All this is rather fey, episodic, and unrestrained. Least Heat-Moon relies on lots of talk to convey a sense of character, and too often the talk is not terribly engaging, sometimes to the participants and, alas, often to the reader. An exuberant but ultimately self-indulgent engagement with esoterica.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781941110560
Publisher:
Three Rooms Press
Publication date:
04/11/2017
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,069,640
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

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.