Reviews (AIIOE)

Praise for As It Is On Earth:

The PEN/Hemingway Awards

March, 24 2013 (with fellow Honorable Mention, Catherine Chung)

Judges: Amy Bloom, Oscar Hijuelos, Craig Nova

“Wheelwright has designed As It Is On Earth with an artful and elegant structure…seductive storytelling, a stylish, graceful, and elegiac novel.”
The Tottenville Review

“There is no lack of ambition or artistry in Peter Wheelwright’s As It Is On Earth, a complex tapestry of the collisions between civilization and nature, and science and religion, among other minor topics. But its heart is “the family thing”, and the pleasure of this book is watching Wheelwright’s sensitive and skeptical protagonist unravel decades of secrets and lies. A remarkable debut.”
Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life

“…lovely, meditative, and thoughtful; Wheelwright is fearless with jargon and diction…compulsively readable.”
The Brooklyn Rail

“A family wound is at the center of As It Is On Earth. Peter Wheelwright is a natural born writer with a scholar’s deep thoughtfulness and a gift for seeing the links, often obscure, elusive, and contradictory, that connect and hold one generation fast to another.”
Alec Wilkinson, author of The Ice Balloon

“With a Yankee tap root breaking through layers of granite guilt and miscegenation, Taylor Thatchers’ family tree is a challenging climb. From its branches overlooking New England’s old farms and old colleges, author Peter Wheelwright peers compassionately at a world inhabited by young survivors of extinct tribes and inherited griefs. Fascinating and absorbing and forgiving.”
Meryl Streep

As It Is On Earth is wonderful…erudite, well written and entertaining at the same time… a richly grained context of place, time, connectivity with human foibles and a linkage to well-defined segments of humanity’s accumulated body of knowledge.”
Metropolis Magazine

As It Is On Earth may be situated in New England with sojourns to Mexico, but its true territory is the topography of family life with all its obscure borders. Positioned at the moment when one millennium becomes another, Wheelwright’s powerful narrative of two brothers looks to all those ways history and landscape give shape to our lives; and to all those forces, both intimate and universal, that bring us together and drive us apart.”
Akiko Busch, author of Nine Ways to Cross a River: Midstream Reflections on Swimming and Getting There from Here

As It Is On Earth is a spiritual coming of age story of New England bred, Taylor Thatcher who, along with his younger brother, Bingham, has been shaped by the secrets, grievances and betrayals that are worthy of the name family. Far from being a by the numbers chronicle of sibling rivalry and family dysfunction, Peter M. Wheelwright’s richly layered tale can be read as a contemporary rendering of the Cain and Abel story and Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The Thatcher brothers carry the mark of familial transgressions and embark upon a journey taking them away from their Puritan origins to the otherness of the Yucatan and back again. Refusing the consolations of a celestial resolution, Wheelwright leaves the reader with a vision of the unrelenting birth pangs of life ‘as it is on earth’”
 Wesley Brown, author of Darktown Strutters and Life During Wartime

As It Is on Earth is a riveting novel of times and its changes, very much recommended reading.”
The Midwest Book Review

“With great insight into his fascinating characters and the New England landscape they have inhabited for generations, Peter Wheelwright illuminates the Lives of the WASPS as they reckon with the multicultural world grown up around them. The Thatchers of Maine, their aspirations, longings, triumphs and failures, will live on in the reader’s mind long after this novel is closed.”
Heidi Jon Schmidt, author of The House on Oyster Creek

“Unlike his character Miryam, whose photographs of absent bridges depict only the supporting embankments that connect two sides of the earth, Peter Wheelwright, in this rich and moving debut, attempts to fill in those ghostly, empty polarities of space and time that we call family history — and, in the doing, offers up a bit of America’s history, as well. Like a great bridge-builder, Wheelwright connects past and present, choices and consequences, hope and despair, fantasy and reality, all the while, like Miryam’s sturdy embankments, remaining anchored firmly into the land. A masterful balancing act; a beautiful, unpretentious, elegiac novel.”
Joseph Salvatore, author of To Assume A Pleasing Shape

“Peter Wheelwright’s tale is full of mystery and family transgression, anecdote and the oddest facts imaginable, a tale of despair shot through with unexpected wonder. Wheelwright’s oddball cast of dreamers and alcoholic holy men, stargazers and crack mystics, naturalists and sidetracked philosophers, will linger in the readers imagination long after the last page.”
Andrea Barnet, author of All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930

“One of the deep pleasures in reading Peter Wheelwright’s gorgeous debut novel As It Is On Earth comes from the dizzying journey through the constellations of his protagonist’s life as he attempts to untangle the Gordian knot of his family legacy. His world is messy and contradictory, saturated with desire and utterly intoxicating; it’s a place where ideas about science and art and nature and history combust until secrets are laid bare. As in the best of novels, Wheelwright both broke my heart and gave me great faith in acts of forgiveness and in the tenderness of our hearts. “
Lisa Fugard, author of Skinner’s Drift

“Lest you think this novel is entirely Dostoyevskian spelunking through the caverns of the human soul, it has more than a few brighter moments…Taylor’s socializing with his faculty colleagues, a predictably eccentric lot could easily migrate to the pages of works by David Lodge or Kingsley Amis…At its conclusion, As It Is On Earth made me think of the final sentence of my favorite Kurt Vonnegut Jr. novel, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
The Brooklyn Bugle (Claude Scales)

As It Is On Earth is a stunningly well-written novel…Who writes like this? I’m just not used to seeing this level of thoughtfulness, depth, poetry, and philosophy in books anymore.”
The Superfast Reader

“Wheelwright writes with an architect’s vision and intricacy, courting big themes as he follows gnarled family roots deep into bedrock.”
Chronogram Magazine

As It Is On Earth is rich in detail and character, with a superb sense of place.”
Berkshire Fine Arts

As It Is on Earth, Peter Wheelwright’s debut novel, is among the richest – and most challenging – novels I have read in a long while. Taylor Thatcher’s search for his family origins leads him places he never expected to travel – and the reader gets to share that wild ride.”
The Book Chase

“The descriptions of people and places are memorable. The way it deals with Time seems architectural.”
Architectural Record

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. The New England setting, Thatcher’s life as a college professor at the University of Hartford, his relationship with his wayward brother, a developing relationship with photography student Miryam, are beautifully explored and intertwined to create an unforgettable story.”
The Hudson Register Star

“A novel of guilt and its pointlessness…I can’t think of another modern novel that melds as well the WASP experience with that of the native American.”
The Rural Intelligence