One of A Common Reader's Best Books of 2010: see http://acommonreader.org/my-best-books-2010/ for more details!
Shortlisted for the People's Book Prize 2011.
Waking each morning alone, John Stack finds solace in long, alcohol-fuelled walks though the unchanging landscape of a Gloucestershire valley. His wife Linda has left him and his reputation as a man with the golden touch is diminishing as he becomes further disconnected from the art world. The only glimmer of hope for John comes through the weekend visits of his twelve-year-old daughter Bryony, who begs him to drink less. A chance encounter with the beautiful widow from the mysterious neighbouring stone house may offer the chance of a new beginning for John, if only he can quieten his suspicions about the death of her husband.
Told in sparkling poetic language, It's Just the Beating of My Heart is a story of loss and heartbreak in a world peopled by ghosts.
"In his first novel Five Amber Beads, Richard Aronowitz trained his pictorial prose on the torn canvas of the Holocaust... However, for his second, It's Just the Beating of my Heart, Aronowitz has moved beyond such affirmative closure to focus on what remains of a life when what has been lost simply cannot be restituted. As a study of a man teetering on the brink of insanity, it is a beautifully assured piece of work.... Aronowitz has a perfect eye and ear for the tenderness bartered between father and daughter.... This is a quiet novel which progresses at a pace as gentle as a wide brook but with the attached depth of still waters. The narrowing of Stack's existence is handled with both structural clarity and psychological truth, while a potentially annoying narrator who becomes a slave to self-destructive patterns never loses the reader's sympathy. It is also a book about the consolations of nature. Stack finds palliative care in "the great canopies of elm and beech, the ancient gnarled trunks of oak and hawthorn, the generosity of walnut-tree and chestnut". His solitary walks through the Gloucestershire woodland prove an effective motif for a tale of a man searching for a new path."
Christian House, Independent on Sunday
"Richard Aronowitz’s book […] exploits to a large degree our complacent assumptions about what can happen in a conventional literary novel – or how psychology operates."
Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent
"Aronwitz writes well throughout, and the integration of story with location makes the book somehow seem very English. This is a quality book, and although there is little crime in the novel, the clever plot development reminded me rather of writers like Ruth Rendell or Frances Fyfield."
Tom Cunliffe, A Common Reader
"Aronowitz is a skillful writer who is able to snare his readers without alarming them. This is a beautiful novel that will play on the mind a long time after it's finished."
Richard Aronowitz was born in 1970 and grew up in rural Gloucestershire. He studied at the universities of Durham, Heidelberg and London and now works at Sotheby's. His debut novel, Five Amber Beads, was published by Flambard in 2006 and his poems have appeared in The Guardian and The Independent, and are anthologised in Anvil New Poets 3. He is married and lives in Cambridge.