Would you betray your lover to give them what they wanted? Bec Shepherd is a malaria researcher struggling to lead a good life. Ritchie, her reprobate brother, is a rock star turned TV producer. When Bec refuses an offer of marriage from a powerful newspaper editor and Ritchie's indiscretions catch up with him, brother and sister are forced to choose between loyalty and betrayal.
The Heart Broke In is an old-fashioned story of modern times, a rich, ambitious family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and internet blackmail.
©2012 James Meek (P)2012 Canongate Books Ltd
The main character is just so unpleasant that I didn't want to spend any more time with him.
I skipped to the end and to not much surprise found a pointless ending.
The highlight of the audiobook. What a great job of telling the story and keeping the characters separate.
The main character - Richie
A big family saga with a number of difficult themes, mostly revolving around love, family bonds and, above all, betrayal. Set in 2012 London (with a few excursions to Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Hampshire, Dorset, etc), this is a great Modern British Novel if such a "genre" exists. Complex and interestingly flawed characters who often make terrible decisions and act out of selfishness disguised as goodness of their hearts in combination with a decent plot made this a truly enjoyable novel for me.
John Lee, who narrates the audio book, is absolutely outstanding. This was the first book read by him that I've listened to, and I can now appreciate why he is so acclaimed. His vast array of authentic sounding accents is impressive, my only complaint is that he often changes his voice when he reads women and sounds a bit like a demented transvestite, but that is a personal observation, I am sure others don't perceive it that way.
I'm definitely keen to read something else by James Meek - he ticks many boxes for me in terms of his writing.
"Smart and original"
It is very hard to describe this book. Initially it is a tale of a high achieving brother and sister who get along despite an undercurrent of sibling rivalry. Richie is a cheating hedonist who is about to be found out whereas Becks is an almost saintly medical researcher looking for a cure for malaria. Both characters are intensely real and it is impossible to completely like or dislike either of them. The catalyst occurs when Becks breaks her engagement to Val, a high powered newspaper editor and he unleashes a very effective revenge strategy that has far reaching consequences for Becks, her family and even their acquaintances.
Just like life, this book has its annoying moments and some sections are a tad overlong. I also regretted the absence of the very charismatic Val in much of the book, although his actions are plainly evident. Just like life, I can only look back fondly on this remarkable and original story. There are some parts of this book where I would have given a 6 or 7 marking if I could so I think a Straight 5 is a fair assessment of its overall impact.
I wonder if James Meek could be encouraged to write another book about Val? It would be wonderful if he did.
It takes a little while until the story picks up speed but you’ll be highly rewarded. It is a very complex story inhabited by very complex characters that Mr.Meek had brought to life in such a brilliant way. They all seem so real and interact in a way which is very realistic but planted into unusual circumstances. I actually started to live with them, and really worry about them - which has never happend before and was quite a unique experience . I loved the book in it’s abundance of life as it is tragic and funny at the same time as well as mirroring the English culture in morals and politics in the 21st century.
This may be a very good book, but I couldn't bring myself to persevere the drone of the narrators voice beyond chapter 3.
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