As It Is in Heaven
By Niall Williams
(Grand Central Publishing, Hardcover, 9780446525480, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 1999
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Time has already stopped for Stephen Griffin when he moves into the little house by the sea. Twenty-eight years old and haunted by death, the tall, awkward, shy schoolteacher is Content to care for his father in Dublin and let life pass him by.
Then a miracle appears: a string ensemble from Venice and, with it, a violinist named Gabriella Castoldi. Even though the worldly, beautiful musician seems incapable of giving her heart, love seizes Stephen Griffin ... unbidden and shaking every particle of his spirit.
Stephen's ailing father sees it and fears for his naive son. Nelly Grant, the green-grocer, predicted it and welcomes its sheer joy. Moses Mooney, the blind musician, has sensed its coming. None, however, can envision the depth and consequence of this union. For Gabriella will change not only Stephen's life but, in the deepest sense, the lives of everyone around them.
"As It Is In Heaven" evokes the magical essence of romance and its miraculous ability to grace even the darkest lifewith light. Splendidly crafted and charged with poignancy, it firmly establishes Niall Williams as a master storyteller in the grand tradition of Irish literature.