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Local author debuts novel, superhero origin story perfect for Palahniuk fans

From Lauren Wiser


Left Bank Books presents author Fred Venturini, who will sign and discuss his debut novel, The Heart Does Not Grow Back (Picador, November 2014), on Thursday, November 6, 7pm, at Left Bank Books (399 N. Euclid).

The Heart Does Not Grow back is the story of Dale Simpson, a nonperson at his small town high school who discovers, after a shocking tragedy, that he has an inexplicable ability to regenerate his organs and limbs. Years later, saddled with this bizarre ability that doesn’t seem to make life any easier, Dale has a chance encounter with a girl from his past. After learning that she is caught in a violent marriage, Dale begins his effort to use his power to save her and to redeem himself. His journey brings him to the delirious lights of Hollywood, as he dodges the shadowy forces bent on abusing his gift.

A starred review of The Heart Does Not Grow Back from Booklist says, “Venturini’s melancholy but fascinating first novel is an invitation to think about altruism, ethics, and the tangled precincts of the human heart.” Isaac Marion, author of Warm Bodies, claims, “Venturini has a voice that’s something like noir poetry, alternately hard-boiled and beautiful, and the story he tells with it is intriguing, intense and – dare I say it – visceral. Keep your eye on this guy. He’s going to cause trouble.”

Fred Venturini was born in Patoka, Illinois, and lives in Southern Illinois with his wife and daughter. His fiction has been published in the Booked Anthology, Noir at the Bar 2, and Surreal South ’13, and in August 2014 his story “Gasoline” was featured in Chuck Palahniuk’s Burnt Tongues collection.

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