“Beyond fabulous sentence-level prose, Piccirillo marries place and character in a balance where neither depends too heavily on the other. No small feat.”
- Bruce Pratt, 2008 Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction, and winner of the 2007 Andre Dubus Award in short fiction.
Heartwood is a story of a love triangle gone terribly wrong. Two men, lifelong friends, become at odds over a woman. One will soon realize that revenge is not to be done in haste. A story of love and vengeance, Heartwood is a solidly recommended read through and through.
- Midwest Book Reviews
"If Eudora Welty is right that fiction depends for its life on place, then make room for PJ Piccirillo, whose wonderful debut novel captures with great sensitivity logging town life at the turn of the last century. Elegiac in nature, and epic in proportion, Heartwood deserves a large and grateful readership."
- Jack Driscoll, author of How Like an Angel
"Respect for the land, its history, and its people is the overriding theme of Heartwood by PJ Piccirillo. It is the start of western Pennsylvania’s industrial growth, and like Carnegie and Frick, Warren P. Ryder seeks to control the people, the towns and the resources in the lands north of Pittsburgh. This is the story of his empire and his privileged granddaughter, Cassandra, whose passion is equal parts love and defiance.
Then there are the two men she is drawn to. John Blesh cunning as a snake, and his boyhood chum Tobias Meier, strong but vulnerable as the rich forestland of the Alleghenies. There is also the fascinating Ernie Groeger, a grotesque (in the most interesting sense of the word) who seems to see deep into men’s souls and motives with his useless, disfigured eye. If David McCullough had written a fictional narrative about Western Pennsylvania at the dawn of its industrial world dominance, it would echo this work. We are lucky Piccirillo has written Heartwood."
- Walt Peterson, recipient of the Gribble Press Award for Short Fiction and the Acorn-Rukeyser Awardfor poetry
"This story of place and a man’s search for significance amidst clashing worlds of humans and nature is more than the tragedy and triumph of Tobias Meier’s passage from woodsman to ostracized heir. Heartwood contemplates what is lost as civilization expands, natural places disappear and technology renders steadfast traditions obsolete."
- Ellipsis Magazine
"Smooth and Lyrical, a pleasure to read."
- Pulitzer nominee Clint McCown
"Piccirillo is the real deal."
- Literary agentLiz Trupin-Pulli
Heartwood is an able, earnest, richly textured story set within a time and place that Piccirillo sees vividly.
- Syndicated newspaper columnist Dave Hurst
Listen to an audio clip of a Heartwood review from WPSU Radio's Bookmark program