All Heart

11 05 2013

The Heart Broke In by James Meek


From the Guardian review:

The Heart Broke In is a story about families and betrayal, genetics and inheritance, sex and responsibility in the post-religious world – and also about parasites, cancer, time, birth, death and forgiveness. It starts with a powerful hook – will a married man be exposed for his affair with a 15-year old girl? – and whizzes along for most of its 550 pages, via plots and subplots encompassing blackmail, murder and sexual infidelity, leaving the reader excited and impressed and, if a little confused, then enjoyably so. With its mixture of heavy scientific detail and lurid plot twists, it vaguely resembles a mid-career Ian McEwan novel. But it’s considerably odder than that.

It’s a big, bold and quite complicated novel in places but some of the characterisation is excellent and the sense of family lives in crisis is really compelling. Meek’s writing is terrific and it really bowls along (apart from some of the detailed sciency bits) and overall it’s a very good read indeed and highly recommended.

four stars

Dinner time

4 05 2013

The Dinner by Herman Koch


A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

It’s difficult to say more than this brief introduction without spoiling things but suffice it to say that things do take some dramatic turns over the dinner table. It’s pretty shocking too but really a quite compelling read.


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