The Agitated Heart (Paperback)
Arcpoint Media, 9780974315515, 210pp.
Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Like any typical family anywhere, trouble brews beneath the surface. The marriage strains at the ties that bind. The boy quails beneath a looming threat. The girl despairs that she will ever qualify.
Still, the beliefs they tangle with each day of their lives-individually, and as a unit-may offer them just enough direction to give them hope for a bright and glorious future.
Praise for The Agitated Heart
'Keats wrote, 'Truth is beauty, beauty truth.' There is much of truth in this book, with characters that can be so painfully honest that at times it seems almost too real. Bronson examines his subject matter unblinkingly, and takes his tale to its tragic conclusion without flinching. Because of that, there is great beauty here, and ultimately this tale shows us what lies at the heart of true courage and heroism." -David Farland (author of The Runelords series)
"The Agitated Heart is a sometimes comforting, sometimes heartbreaking story. . . . Bronson provides more than lip service to stereotypes and clich's. His characters struggle toward belief-and understanding and acceptance-on every level, constantly stymied by the inadequacy of language even to frame their struggles. . . . B]elief follows pain and fear and effort, and begins the transformation of each character. . . . They surpass the limitations of language to approach truth, they move beyond passive statements of belief to actions that are built upon belief." -Michael R. Collings (emeritus professor of creative writing, Pepperdine University)
"This is Mormon literature in the best sense. A story about a real, terrible family problem and a marriage that is both fraught with problems and eternal. The answers aren't easy and the pain is real, but the storytelling is tender." -Mette Ivie Harrison (author of The Bishop's Wife)
"The best piece of domestic LDS fiction I have ever read. Bronson succeeds in the literary ways: strong and clearly drawn characters, dialogue, and a focused but complex narrative. The narrative POV switches in each chapter between the four main characters, the mother, father, son, and daughter, work well. Often Bronson shows us scenes through two viewpoints, giving the reader greater understanding and charity for the characters. Even without the truly dramatic events of the final chapters, Bronson creates a slice of life of an average Mormon family that fascinated and engaged me. . . . It is not often you find literary excellence, emotional heart, and powerful religious messages wrapped up in a single work." -Andrew Hall (Association for Mormon Letters)
"A moving interconnected tale of love, family, and Christlike sacrifice that examines the nature of love and faith." -Chris Crowe (author of Mississippi Trial, 1955)
"J. Scott Bronson's novella, The Agitated Heart, is simply a beautiful, beautiful piece of writing. A troubled but faithful Mormon family struggles to cope with ordinary Mormon challenges; callings in the ward, disputes with ward members, a school bully terrorizing their oldest child. Underlying those tensions is a profound meditation on the atonement, on faith and forgiveness, on hard-heartedness and repentance. Profoundly simple, accessibly rich, human and real and lovely. I know these people. And I ached for them as I read." -Eric Samuelsen (playright; emeritus professor of drama, BYU)