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The truth about love : a novel
Hart, Josephine.
Adult Fiction HART

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hart's previous five novels (Damage; Sin) addressed the disturbing power of love, and in her latest, she returns to the topic with mixed success. Hart opens with the stream-of-consciousness narration of a teenage boy's fatal accident in 1962 Ireland before shifting to the precise, nearly stifling voice of Thomas Middlehoff (aka "The German") at the funeral. Distant and polite, Thomas orbits ever closer to the beleaguered O'Hara family: the boy's father, Tom, wants to buy a family heirloom from Thomas; he bumps into Olivia, the boy's sister, with his car (she sustains scrapes and bruises); and the boy's mother, Sissy, exposes her deep grief to him, spurring him into contemplations of his own secrets and horrors. After another Joycean interlude depicting Sissy's treatment in a mental hospital, Olivia takes over the story from the present day, and though outwardly successful, she refuses to let go of her anger at her brother's death. Unfortunately, revelations in the second half of this brief novel feel rushed, while the characters' proclivities for introspection do little to create narrative urgency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Hart's affecting new work opens with the extraordinary monolog-desperate and fragmented-of a teenaged boy who's just been blown apart in an explosion he has innocently engineered. "Turn me over quickly. Don't let my mother see me," he thinks. That's one sign of love. Another sign is how devotedly husband and daughter watch over the mother after the boy dies, the daughter even engaging in some fiercely well-meant tough talk when the mother is hospitalized, unable to bear the loss of her son after the earlier death of a daughter. The husband even persuades Mr. Middlehoff, a German who lives in town, to part with a gate that seems a fitting memorial. And then the mother revives and goes on, this being stolid small-town Ireland in the early 1960s, where difficulties are meant to be survived. But as the daughter, Olivia, realizes, Ireland is changing, and Mr. Middlehoff is there to add a depth of understanding that others lack. Verdict Poignant, engrossing, and deftly realized, this is a more nuanced read than the author's still excellent Damage and should be considered by most fiction readers.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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