Geography Of The Heart [NOOK Book]


Poignant and affectionate, Geography of the Heart is a moving portrait of Lambda Award winner Fenton Johnson, the son of a Kentucky whiskey brewer, and his fateful lover Larry Rose, who, three years into their intense relationship, died of AIDS.

Rose had been upfront about his condition from the start of his relationship with Johnson, and the knowledge left their interactions fraught with the pain of anticipated loss. Though Johnson never ...
See more details below
Geography Of The Heart

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$14.99 price


Poignant and affectionate, Geography of the Heart is a moving portrait of Lambda Award winner Fenton Johnson, the son of a Kentucky whiskey brewer, and his fateful lover Larry Rose, who, three years into their intense relationship, died of AIDS.

Rose had been upfront about his condition from the start of his relationship with Johnson, and the knowledge left their interactions fraught with the pain of anticipated loss. Though Johnson never contracted the virus himself, Rose’s physical decline haunted him. He had come to depend on Rose for his care and understanding as much as Rose, increasingly fragile as their relationship progresses, depended on him.

The vivid, poignant, and wise tribute to his soulmate that Johnson has distilled into The Geography of the Heart is a memoir like no other, a startling story of compassion, perseverance, and the acute wounds that can linger in the shadow of true love.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Novelist Johnson (Scissors, Paper, Rock) watched his lover, San Francisco high-school teacher Larry Rose, die of AIDS in a Paris hospital in 1990 after an intense three-year relationship. Rose was HIV-positive but asymptomatic when they met, and while their lovemaking was haunted by fear of contagion, the author remains HIV-negative. Rose, the only child of German Jewish Holocaust survivors-his father, Leo, was imprisoned and beaten by the Nazis in Holland, escaped and hid for three years with broken vertebrae-had a very different background from that of Johnson, who grew up Catholic and the youngest of nine in an isolated Appalachian town in Kentucky. Johnson writes with crystal clarity of his gradual acceptance by his lover's emigrant parents, of coming out to his own widowed mother at 31, of Rose's gradual physical deterioration and of his working through grief toward emotional renewal. This is a remarkable memoir, touching, funny, searing, eloquent, beautifully alive. (May)
Library Journal
This rare and moving memoir is the story of two men who met, fell in love, lived, loved, and experienced death in one of the worst epidemics of our time. Novelist Fenton (Crossing the River, LJ 7/89); writes masterfully about his deceased lover, Larry Rose. They are opposites in many ways: Catholic and Jew, Southerner and Californian, descendant of Appalachian folk and descendant of Holocaust survivors, HIV negative and HIV positive. Yet they know they are right for each other and, perhaps more importantly, right for the times. Johnson not only describes their three years together but also their prehistories: Johnson's growing up in rural Kentucky, Rose's parents hiding from Nazis under the floorboards of a house in Holland. The level of compassion, understanding, and love between these two men is a testament to how humans could and should treat each other. Rose used to say, even in the face of terrible odds, how lucky he was. Anyone who reads this work will also feel lucky for having done so. Recommended for all types of libraries.-Lee Arnold, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Charles Harmon
Although formally as old as literature itself, Johnson's story of growing up, falling in love, and enduring the beloved's death is as relevant as one's own life. It "is" his life, a memoir dominated by his relationship with Larry Rose. Larry, HIV-positive when he and Johnson became a couple, had a zest for living that, ironically, lightened his lover's approach to life. The two could not have had more different backgrounds: Fenton was the youngest in a huge rural Kentucky family; Larry, the only son of Jewish immigrants to California. Larry fell in love with Fenton almost immediately and wooed him until he gave in to their being a couple. Their life together, their frequent travels to France, their mutual acceptance of both life and death, and then Johnson's grief at his loss make wrenching yet rewarding reading, recommended to virtually all public libraries.
Greg Johnson
"GEORGRAPHY OF THE HEART abounds with love....Along with Paul Monette's Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, Johnson's book will surely stand as one of the most powerful additions to this poignant genre." -- Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Juliet Wittman
"REMARKABLE....a glowing, fine-grained tapestry that illuminates Johnson's life with Rose, and places their love and travails in a larger context." -- San Jose Mercury News
Bill Roorbach
"Heartbreaking...profoundly sad, yet somehow hopeful...GEORGRAPHY OF THE HEART takes the shape and sudden trajectory of a novel." -- Newsday
Kirkus Reviews
A spiritual autobiography in the form of a novelist's memoir about losing his lover to AIDS.

What can you say about a book that makes you cry on page 3? That it does so again on page 4 complicates the reviewer's job further. Nevertheless, this is not a tearjerker: Johnson's (Scissors, Paper, Rock, 1993, etc.) memoir is a moving expansion of the genre. The last of nine children in a devoutly Catholic rural Kentucky family, Johnson was initially the pursued and not the pursuer in the relationship he memorializes here. Larry Rose's background—San Francisco high school English teacher, the only child of German-Jewish Holocaust survivors—could scarcely have been more dissimilar. Johnson resists entanglement: Larry is HIV- positive, and he legitimately fears having his life taken over by responsibility for Larry's care once he develops AIDS. He also fears the pain of becoming attached to someone he will lose. What he discovers is that being in love with Larry transforms him. As Johnson writes in an extraordinary passage about ministering to Larry on a daring trip to France just days before the invalid's death: "I understood the shallowness of my fears that I might abandon Larry once he grew sick. Now I only wanted to be with him and to care for him, for in caring for him I was caring for myself. I discovered that I loved even his illness and his dying . . . because they were a part of him; there was no having him without these." The labors arising from love, Johnson learns, are not labors.

We think of memoirs as retrospective narratives of long lives. Where AIDS is involved, the time frame is very different, the intention more urgent. This profoundly moving, painfully honest book is a remarkable testament to a short life and the enduring love that emerged from it. It deserves the widest possible audience.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439125793
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 2/15/2011
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 560,673
  • File size: 2 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    Best Love Story Since Romeo and Juliet

    Anyone who's been frustrated searching for a soul mate will be touched by this story. Fenton Johnson's memoir is the true story of a man who's soul mate found him and taught him how to both receive love and give it in return. A modern romance, Geography of the Heart is touching, entertaining and cathartic. If you've given up on love, this book will re-open your heart. Johnson gives moving testimony to the old adage that it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)