Out of print, but now available in digital form! This is my first book of essays, originally published in 2008, and it’s ready for you at the Kindle store.
The thirty-one essays in The Savage Faith of the Secret Heart are mostly based on memories: everyday betrayals and misplaced loyalties, small redemptive moments and confusions of the heart, long pointless journeys on Greyhound buses, a flooded Gaviota creek, and saying goodbye in so many unexpected ways to beloved people, places, and things. Encompassing the author’s Brooklyn childhood, her 1960s Long Island adolescence, and her improbable present life on a windswept ranch on the California coast, the book is an essentially American tale, complete with deep Old World roots and westward movement, pausing, like so many of our narratives, at the very edge of the Pacific. It offers readers a powerful and memorable experience, one which can compel them into examining their own lives and begin exploring experiences of their own that are over, but by no means over with.
“While these essays contain fragments of a life story,” writes reviewer Robert Isaacson, “Ward offers her readers far more than mere autobiography: With agility, precision, and even downright elegance, her lucid prose offers us insight into how a mind makes meaning by directly confronting ghosts we once knew all too well but now pretend no longer to see. But those ghosts are still there, wandering our hallways, dragging their chains, making their clunking night noises, seeking resolution, consolation, peace. We all know that. We can only fool ourselves so long. The Savage Faith of the Secret Heart offers numerous clues as to how to confront those ghosts and see them for what they are, and, by embracing them, find the words to set them free.”
“Cynthia Carbone Ward writes with radiant care and exquisite, heartening beauty. Her essays make us better human beings. The cluttered spaces inside feel smooth and whole again.” Naomi Shihab Nye