Wheelwright brings novel to Owl & Turtle

Nov 10, 2012
Peter M. Wheelwright

Camden — Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright will read from and sign copies of his first novel, “As It Is On Earth,” Friday, Nov. 23 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Owl & Turtle Bookshop, 33 Bay View St. Wine and snacks will be served.

Old New England, its landscapes, rivers and tidal estuaries are casualties of history in this story of Deep Time and the wayward collision of nature and civilization. As a 13th generation Wheelwright (descendant of the Rev. John Wheelwright, founder of Wells, in the “Province of Mayne”) to have lived and worked in Maine, it is a story the author knows well. He spent summers in Orono on his grandparents' farm; and after architecture school at Princeton University, he lived in Camden and did his first apprenticeship year with local architect John Morris of Waldoboro. He regularly visits Camden to see friends and family members.

“As It Is On Earth” is set in New England over seven days leading up to Columbus Day 1999, at the end of the millennium. Narrated by Taylor Thatcher, an irreverent young university professor from a fallen family of Maine Puritans, the story follows a ruminative quest to escape from history. Along his errant way, Thatcher is swept by Time through the "family thing" — from the tangled genetic and religious history of his New England parents to the redemptive birthday secret of Esther Fleur Noire Bishop, the Cajun-Passamaquoddy woman who raised him; and, finally, from love in the ruins of the Mayan Yucatan to his own last stand on Columbus Day at a high-stakes gambling casino, rising in resurrection over the starlit bones of a once-vanquished Pequot Indian Tribe.

Wheelwright is an architect and associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. He received his M.Arch degree from Princeton University and BFA degree from Trinity College. His design work has been widely published in both the national and international press. His 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.

“As It Is On Earth” was released by The Fomite Press. Wheelwright’s second novel, “The Door-Man,” is in progress.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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