No Spoiler Book Review – where my heart used to beat, Sebastian Faulks
Title: where my heart used to beat
Author: Sebastian Faulks
Copyright: Sebastian Faulks 2015
On a small island off the south coast of France, Robert Hendricks – an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer – is forced to confront the events that made up his life. His host is Alexander Pereira, a man who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.
The search for the past takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.
This moving novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.
This story follows the life, as told by the main character to another, so very much from his view point.
As the blurb says the story travels through the war, as with most of Mr Faulks books, and beyond. It includes a diversion into psychiatry and love on the way.
Robert Hendricks, a lonely figure. I imagined him in a slightly mucky rain coat, hair a bit unbrushed, a bit of dandruff on his collar. In his youth, an army uniform well pressed but also well worn.
Alexander Pereira, I admit to not really understand his role, other than to take Robert on his personal recollections. Towards the end he finally does play an important role, although small. Without spoiling your reading, you need to stick with it. I got a mental picture of an Agatha Christie type recluse, let me know what you make of him?
I love Sebastian Faulks work, but sadly this isn’t his best, despite the blurb. Don’t get me wrong his writing is beautiful and evocative as ever. However in this book it’s also a bit rambling in the middle. I ended up page flipping in a couple of places. We all know the war is something the writer is well versed in, maybe I’ve read too many of his books now. It became a little predictable although I found the discussion around insanity fascinating, how times do change.
Yes, if you love Mr Faulks as I do, or you enjoy world war fiction or a gentle love story. It isn’t all a gory war story but the usual trench warfare does feature, as you would expect.
The aspects of psychiatry seemed well researched and informative, they gave me the impression it’s something the writer feels strongly about. In that it is a convincing story, I’d have just preferred it a little more concise in the middle.
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