Nerves of the Heart
By Lucy Ferriss
(University of Tennessee Press, Hardcover, 9781572331853, 344pp.)
Publication Date: May 2002
Nerves of the Heart is a remarkable portrait of individuals nursing old and new loves and the little boy who must shoulder the weight of the adults' hurts and hopes. The characters' burdens exact a considerable cost, but as their story unfolds, they also discover unexpected blessings.
After the deaths of her daughter and husband, Linsey Hunter moves to Roanoke, Virginia, to begin a new life near the boy who received Brooke's heart. With a void left in her life, Linsey seeks renewal within the bonds of Nick and Susannah's family. As she grows closer to Toby, Linsey begins to see a part of her daughter brought back to life through him. At the same time, Toby struggles to make Brooke's heart at home in his body and to connect with her spirit.
But Linsey's presence touches off vulnerabilities in Nick and Susannah's marriage. As their trust breaks down, Nick seeks solace in Linsey's new-age ways, and the vexed alliances of family are strained and redefined. Nick turns away; Susannah desperately tries both to give her son freedom in the face of his medical limitations and to maintain a routine that will keep him alive.
In this compelling family drama, author Lucy Ferriss offers a unique treatment of a contemporary issue. She explores the alliances, estrangements, injuries, and gifts of love that reside in the mysterious human heart. As Toby and the adults who care for him experience grief, betrayal, and renewal, Nerves of the Heart explores not only how long we can hang on to the heart's passions but when we must let them go.
The Author: Lucy Ferriss is the Allan K. Smith Writer-in-Residence at Trinity College. She has published numerous stories and is the author of Leaving the Neighborhood and Other Stories and the novels The Misconceiver, Against Gravity, and Philip's Girl. She lives in Hartford, Connecticut.