The Ecology of the Heart (EBOOK ONLY)
The Ecology of the Heart is a novel of discovering America in 1976, the Bicentennial, and in so doing discovering atonement and peace. Leaving behind a crumbling marriage, thirty-year-old Sam Sewall sets out from Wiscasset on a ten-speed bicycle, heading west, alone, foundering emotionally and physically. He has bought the bicycle the day before, and must learn everything about it as he struggles over one hill after another, sleeping under bridges and in fields at the side of the road. He recounts his ride across three states – New York, Iowa, and Wyoming – as, growing stronger and leaner, he meets strangers, confronts obstacles, and learns about the beauty and resilience of this country. In two long flashbacks he recalls his life as a teacher and writer, falling in love with Gay Darling, a bright and beautiful student, whom he marries. They move to the university in Orono, where Gay studies and Sam writes. Eventually the marriage falls apart with the discovery of strange voices, and he decides he must leave Gay and Maine.
The novel carries Sam past Niagara Falls, over the Mississippi River, and eventually up into the Bighorn Mountains, where he is at last brought to his knees by the harsh and beautiful natural world and allowed to comprehend the extent of his responsibility to both Gay and himself, and bring a balance to both their hearts.
The attention to detail of the varied landscapes, combined with the moving narration of a doomed love story, combine to create a moving portrait of America in her two hundredth year. John Gould has written a novel of honesty and power.