The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast: New and Selected Stories

The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast: New and Selected Stories

by John L'Heureux
The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast: New and Selected Stories

The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast: New and Selected Stories

by John L'Heureux


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John L'Heureux spent his long, prolific career exploring questions of morality and faith in stories that entertain, surprise, and sometimes disturb; and The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast compiles the enduring stories of a distinctive American writer.

A sweeping posthumous collection wrestles with faith, irony, and the redemptive nature of love.

A nun crashes her car; an unborn child sings to its mother; a troubled priest is in the market for a London apartment. In The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast, John L’Heureux explores head-on life’s biggest questions, and the moments—of joy, doubt, transcendence—that alter the course of life. Compiled as he neared the end of his life, and conceived as the legacy of a life’s work, The Heart Is a Full-Wild Beast brims with elegance, humor, and compassion, welcoming both the ordinary and the rapturous. L’Heureux is a writer of astonishing vision—a master of storytelling and the sentence.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780998267579
Publisher: A Public Space
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 1,100,256
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

John L'Heureux was born in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He spent seventeen years as a Jesuit priest, after which he worked as an editor at the Atlantic; and for more than thirty years taught American literature and creative writing at Stanford, where he was the longtime director of the writing program. His stories appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and Harper's. He was the author of twenty-three books, including the novels The Beggar's Pawn, The Medici Boy, and The Shrine at Altamira; and the short-story collections Desires and Comedians. He lived with his wife in northern California until his death in 2019.


Stanford, California

Date of Birth:

October 26, 1934

Place of Birth:

South Hadley, Massachusetts


Graduate degrees in philosophy and English from Boston College and Harvard University

Table of Contents


The Comedian 3

Mutti 17

Witness 29

The Torturer's Assistant 59

The Handmaid 67

A Few Necessary Questions 83

Answered Prayers 95


The Anatomy of Bliss 115

Benjamin 131

A Family Affair 153

Nightfall 185

No Strings 193

On Garby Road 213

The Priest's Wife: Thirteen Way of Looking at a Blackbird 231


The Rise and Rise of Annie Clark 249

Communion 271

The Long Black Line 293

Departures 313

Clothing 327

A Kind of Happiness 341

The Expert on God 357


Roman Ordinary 365

Sins of Thought, Sins of Desire 373

Brief Lives in California 387

Consolations of Philosophy 399

Themselves 407

The Anatomy of Desire 413

Three Short Moments in a Long Life 419

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