Book review: The Heart Broke In by James Meek

Thanks to the blogging community, I picked up this fiction novel about betrayal (thanks Dar, at An Exacting Life, she mentions it in this post).  At 550 pages, it wasn’t a short read and at times I did wonder whether it was worth finishing.  Slowly the various characters lives were woven together, and as the final chapters came together, the true characters presented themselves.  All this book has on it’s back cover is “Would you betray someone you love to give them what they want?”  It’s a pretty chilling question, and not at all simple to answer.

source: bookoxygen.com

source: bookoxygen.com

It’s hard to explain all the characters in this story, but there’s a pair of brothers, and a brother/sister pair, and their associated families.  The first brother, Alex, is a successful scientist and incredibly esoteric.  His brother Dougie has become a postman, and is the family failure.  The other due is a Ritchie a former music star who now produces a teen music contest for TV, and his sister Bec is a scientist looking to find a vaccine for malaria.  Both these duo’s marriages and family, partners and parents are also included in the stories, which at times makes it a full house! [I’m proud to report, to regular book review readers, I remembered those character names without looking them up! My brain and name memory must be improving!]

Overall, the snippets of the book I quoted to the bf (in the closing chapters) left him saying ‘that’s one messed up book you’re reading there’, and to an extent he is right.  But every life has these silent betrayals and compromises.  This book touches on fidelity, blackmail, torture, forgiveness, love, lust and a sprinkle of nepotism and family feuds.  I wasn’t bored whilst reading this – none of my other books got a look in whilst this was on the go, so whilst it might be murky and like a wet day in winter, you can’t help but wonder how things will turn out.  I’d definitely recommend it, so long as you’re ready for a cloudy day!