Steven L. Hawk, author
Max Tivoli has a broken heart, a cold gun, and a compelling desire to end it all. What he doesn’t have is the ability to pull the trigger. At least not yet. In a last ditch effort to save himself, Max sells everything he owns and buys a bicycle. With no plan, no schedule, and no destination, he abandons his home and pedals away from his old life. Paper Hearts is the story of one man’s struggle to escape his past, find redemption, and maybe—just maybe—discover the will to live again.
A depressed man travels through the American West on a bicycle in this compassionate story from Hawk (Peace Warrior). Max Tivoli, a 42-year-old washed-up writer, contemplates suicide after his wife, Alisa, leaves him. Instead, he sells their house in Boise, Idaho; outfits a bicycle with a trailer; and sets off for wherever the road takes him, “a way of ending his old life without the accompanying mess.” He soon finds a Chihuahua, Cody, abandoned in the desert and adopts him. While cycling with Cody, Max’s renewed sense of human connection with the people he encounters gives him hope he’ll write again. He meets an aspiring writer, a runaway teenager whom he takes under his wing, and his mother-in-law, Lupita, who persuades him to face the whole truth about Alisa’s reasons for leaving. Throughout his ride, which takes him all the way into Texas, he reads love notes he had written on paper hearts to Alisa over the years from her keepsake box, and leaves a note at each stop. While clearly evoking Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, this story of emotional awakening gamely explores a man’s cathartic determination to learn to live again. Readers will feel a gentle lift from the easy tone and Max’s eye-opening experiences. (Self-published)