The Book of Why
By Nicholas Montemarano
(Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316188470, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
A novel that asks if love ever really has to die
The power to solve your problems is within you-with the right sense of belief, the mind's ability to create success, happiness, and health is limitless.
At least that's the philosophy of self-help author Eric Newborn, whose books and lectures have spawned a legion of devoted followers who swear that his ideas have pulled their lives from the brink. But after the traumatic loss of his wife, Eric is left to face the darker side of his own teachings, living as a recluse in the home they shared on Martha's Vineyard, struggling to reconcile his worldview with the pain he has suffered. It's a fundamental question that haunts him: why?
When a fan with questions forces Eric to face the world once again, he's put on a path that might lead him towards the closure he seeks, but in astounding ways he could never begin to dream.
At once a stirring portrait of a soul laid bare by grief and a celebration of coincidence and the magic of real connection, The Book of Why explores the deep powers of the heart and mind to shape the world around us, blurring the lines between loss and love, fate and free will, and despair and joy.
Nicholas Montemarano is the author of a story collection, If the Sky Falls (a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice) and a debut novel, A Fine Place. He is Associate Professor of English at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.
"Montemarano is a brilliant illuminator of the outer reaches of hope, a writer unafraid to ask the hardest questions: Is there meaning behind human suffering? Are we responsible, somehow, for the tragedies that befall us? Do we have the power to change our lives? And if not, what's left for us? You'll read this stunning novel compulsively, at first in search of answers, then from a deep and painful affection for the human beings you'll meet in these pages. This is a haunting and extraordinary book." -- Julie Orringer, author of How to Breathe Underwater and The Invisible Bridge
"A fascinating tale of faith, doubt.... An extraordinarily interesting book." -- Carolyn See, The Washington Post
"I love Nicholas Montemarano's writing. He turns the lights up so bright on the beauty of daily life that the dark places he goes leave you gasping. The Book of Why is a breath-taking show of love and hope, of disappearing acts, of restorative reappearances. It is, in a word, magic." -- Rachel DeWoskin, author of Big Girl Small
"Love and death: our two greatest mysteries. Not many writers have the guts or the skill to take them on at the same time, but Nicholas Montemarano has both. With The Book of Why, he's managed a seemingly impossible feat-using language to delineate, with great compassion and precision, that which appears ineffable." -- Ron Currie, Jr., author of Everything Matters!
"Nicholas Montemarano is a brilliant storyteller with a poet's heart-and The Book of Why is an intricately constructed narrative, part riveting, part reverie, entirely beautiful. I wanted this novel to last forever, and still I could not bear to put it down-kind of like life itself." -- Claudia Emerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Late Wife
"The Book of Why presents a compulsively readable mystery; it is impossible to resist how persuasively Montemarano plays with the metaphysics of love and desire." -- Dana Spiotta, author of Stone Arabia
"This is a weighty book that's hard to put down." -- Hello Giggles
PRAISE FOR NICHOLAS MONTEMARANO:
"Remarkable . . . deft storytelling and ruthless honesty . . . as dark and dazzling as a mine shaft studded with diamonds." -- The New York Times Book Review
"An American stylist capable of redeeming our darkest dreams." -- Jayne Anne Phillips
"One of my favorite contemporary short-story writers, and, for my money, among the best we've got." -- Dan Chaon, author of Among the Missing and You Remind Me of Me
"Dark, powerful . . . Montemarano handles brutality and abjection with ambiguity and subtlety." -- Publishers Weekly
"Montemarano's writing is sure and clear and direct. He describes the banalities of everyday life with clinical precision." -- San Francisco Chronicle