New book: As It Is On Earth, by Peter Wheelwright *75 (Fomite Press)
The author: An architect and associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, Wheelwright has practiced or taught architecture for more than 30 years. His project The Kaleidoscope House, a modernist dollhouse designed in collaboration with artist Laurie Simmons, is in the Collection of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. In writing his first novel, he drew on his own family history — his 13th generation grandfather was Reverend John Wheelwright, a Puritan clergyman.
The book: Set in New England over seven days at the end of the Millennium 1999, As It Is On Earth follows Taylor Thatcher, the narrator and a young college professor from a fallen family of Maine Puritans who is trying to come to terms with his family’s history and religious legacy. The story also explores Thatcher’s relationship with his eccentric brother and with an Israeli photography student, Miryam.
From the novel: “A few months ago, shortly before Nicole and I finally separated for good, my brother began sleeping on the fire escape. I am not yet sure how these two things are connected. One day, Nicole phones from the Chiapas’ highlands to say that I do not love her, and the next day, one of Bin’s neighbors calls to tell me my brother is hovering five stories above State Street, curled up asleep on the rusty metalwork outside his kitchen window in downtown Hartford. What am I supposed to make of this?”
Reviews: The Brooklyn Rail called the novel “meditative and thoughtful.” The Hudson Register Star wrote, “As It Is On Earth is a beautifully crafted story of the human condition. … In many ways, this is every person’s story. The struggle to reconcile all that came before, the legacy of family and the past. How we understand and at times overcome it to live in the here and the now.”