Excessive Joy Injures the Heart
By Elisabeth Harvor
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780151008940, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 2002
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Anxious, insomniac, and adrift in her life, Claire Vornoff drives out into the country to become a patient of Declan Farrell, and an education of sorts begins. An iconoclastic practitioner of alternative medicine, Farrell is magnetic and unsettling, and Claire tries in vain to resist him. As she dreams her way through her life, all the while refusing to listen to her friend Libi's dire pronouncements, her attachment to Declan Farrell deepens, and soon she finds herself caught up in a series of unexpected and startling events.
Set mainly in Ottawa and Toronto, this stunning novel charts the anatomy of obsession, capturing along the way the dilemmas of contemporary urban life. Harvor creates an erotically charged atmosphere, always alert to the pathos of love's ambiguities. Bold, original, astute, and above all deeply human, Excessive Joy Injures the Heart reveals things about us we didn't know we knew. This is truly an outstanding debut.
Elisabeth Harvor is the author of several collections of short stories and poems, and the winner of the Alden Nowlan Award. Excessive Joy Injures the Heart is her first novel. She lives in Ottawa.
PRAISE FOR EXCESSIVE JOY INJURES THE HEART
"For her brave, fearful, selfish, warm-hearted, beautiful, unhappy heroine, Harvor rouses a profound sympathy. . . . Deep, clear-eyed, and unsentimental."--The Toronto Star
"Unflinching, perplexing, the novel is written in the wonderfully wry, lucid language that distinguishes Harvor's fiction."--The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
PRAISE FOR LET ME BE THE ONE
"Astounding, pitch-perfect stories."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Stunning stories about identity and its discontents."--The New York Times Book Review