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Paperback Sweet Hearts Book

ISBN: 0743436792

ISBN13: 9780743436793

Sweet Hearts

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

A fusion of family myth with American History, Sweet Hearts is set in the wild and beautiful plains and forests of Montana and recounts the searing story of a brother and sister haunted by their family's turmoil and half-forgotten heritage. At sixteen, Flint has already spent eight years in detention. Part child, part full-grown criminal, he comes home to the one person he loves, his little sister, Cecile. Together they carry out petty thefts, steal...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Dream. Nightmare.

Brilliant, evocative. A dream. A nightmare. A wound. Treasure this book - it will not let you sleep.

One of the country's very best fiction writers

"Sweet Hearts" wowed me from the first pages--I loved the tension of the voices here, the mystery of the past, the delicate, deaf narrator who is yet deft and powerful and gorgeous in her understanding of her damaged people. I've never felt so connected to such hurt and harm--Thon has a way of making every human corner so accessible and understandable, all while making poetry of these lives. The book builds and builds and grows in subtle layers--lovely stuff, an experience more than a read. "Sweet Hearts" leads me back to my old favorite Thon books--she's a master of the short story, too. I've got to stop now, go back to the book--it's one of those you read and finish and just turn back to page one to experience again. Melanie Rae Thon is a national treasure. I want to give this one six stars.

Sweet Hearts

Marie Zimmer, the deaf narrator and moral center of SWEET HEARTS, Melanie Rae Thon's stunning new novel, asks this question, "What child has the wisdom or courage to imagine her own losses?" Marie is, in fact, a woman of great wisdom and courage--and compassion--and it is through her eyes that we witness and come to understand the complex and harrowing story of her family.Flint Zimmer, her nephew, sixteen and on the run, might seem to some an outlaw, a criminal in the making, and Rina Devere, now dead, an unfit mother--but to Marie and, by extension, to Ms. Thon, there is much more to judge a human life by than superficial actions. Through Marie, Ms. Thon sees more and reveals more to us about the byways of truth than we possibly could have understood before.Ms. Thon's vision in SWEET HEARTS is transformative--in its extraordinary view of the human soul and in its language whose purity awakens us to new realms. Ms. Thon is a master, and SWEET HEARTS is nothing short of a masterpiece. I urge you to read it.

A shattering, glorious book

Melanie Rae Thon's Sweet Hearts is a shattering, glorious book of hope and grace and, dare I say it, truth. Our narrator, our compassionate guide, is a deaf woman who sees and hears with lucidity. She tells the story of her sister's children, sixteen-year-old Flint and his eleven-year-old sister Cecile, of the crime Flint commits, of Cecile's complicity and her moment of choice. These two children, who hold center stage in our narrator's consciousness, drive the story she tells. But this is also her story, of how she lost her hearing, of her mother Rina who drowned in the lake, who swam with the ancient sturgeon, who remembered her American Indian heritage, the reservation of her ancestors. It is the story of the father our narrator lives with and loves. She says of him, "In summer, chicadees land in my father's palms. I am telling you the truth." And later, in the heartrending passage about her father's attempts to remove the snow from the roof, she says, "The sadness of a lifetime can converge as you try to remove it." In these words, in their metaphor, the strands of the story converge.Kafka said, "I think we should only read the kind of books that wound and stab us." Melanie Rae Thon has written such a book. Her characters struggle with the knowledge that "sorrow like the wind is relentless." She writes lyrical prose, a large story, that, amazingly, like Kafka, reads with the force and simplicity of the parable. But unlike Kafka, she writes a book of redemption that moves forward relentlessly toward that place where, in our narrator's words, "the heart seeks its own rapture."

"How will we find redemption?"

"How will we find redemption? Mourning our dead enemies."Melanie Rae Thon's brilliant and deeply affecting new novel, Sweet Hearts, tests the limits of love, justice, and redemption in a story about knotted familial legacies in the American West. In a novel so spare you can hear the characters breathe, Flint Zimmer, the damaged boy who has more damage left to do, and his sister Cecile Vaughan are a juvenile, small-time Bonnie and Clyde whose thefts of candy and cigarettes are of a piece with the terrible violence they will generate. The novel lets us wonder if Cecile is Flint's accomplice or his hostage, but bright lines are impossible to draw here. Instead, we follow into the deeper and more disturbing terrain of their entanglement where violence and love stake their claim. The spreading networks in which Flint developed implicate everyone in this novel. The legacies are generations-old and the novel includes a family tree to track the intermarriages of European settlers, Crow, and Cree Indians. Thon offers as narrator the children's aunt, Marie. As guide to the mysteries of love and violence that spiral out from Flint and Cecile, her uncanny insight shifts the narrative onto unfamiliar and utterly compelling ground. Marie cannot speak. As she signs the narrative, we wonder what sort of voice this is, what must remain inaccessible to her and to us through it, and what it alone can bring to consciousness. In language that belongs in the company of Melville's Ishmael and Bronte's Jane Eyre, Thon's Marie "says": "I hear what I want to hear. I suppose I lie. I would speak the truth if I could make sense of it. I can't make you listen. If you want to understand, you'll have to watch. You'll have to learn my language." Readers of Thon's superb short stories and acclaimed novel Iona Moon will be well-acquainted with the emotional drive of her work, its lyricism and physicality, but previous and new readers will be astonished at the maturity of vision and wisdom at work here, and at the complexity Thon is able to realize in her elegant prose. Read this and your heart may never be the same.
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