Having accepted a strange but intriguing invitation to a French island, psychiatrist Robert Hendricks meets the man who has commissioned him to write a biography. But his subject seems more interested in finding out about Robert's past than he does in revealing his own.
For years, Robert has refused to discuss his past. After the war was over, he refused to go to reunions, believing in some way that denying the killing and the deaths of his friends and fellow soldiers, would mean he wouldn't be defined by the experience. Suddenly, he can't keep the memories from overtaking him. But can he trust his memories and can we believe what other people tell us about theirs?
Moving between the present and the past, between France and Italy, New York and London, this is a powerful story about love and war, memory and desire, the relationship between the body and the mind. Compelling and full of suspense, Where My Heart Used to Beat is a tender, brutal and thoughtful portrait of a man and a century, which asks whether, given the carnage we've witnessed and inflicted over the past 100 years, people can ever be the same?
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By The Berwicks on 17-02-16
Interesting and moving
I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters enthralling and the descriptions of the places were vivid. I loved the way it covered the main character's present and past life. I found his account of WW2 in Italy fascinating and the love story was bitter-sweet. The fact it delved into his work as a psychiatrist was also really interesting too.
Overall, a great read.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
By Wras on 11-09-15
We shall not cease from exploration,
and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot
Psychiatrist Dr Robert Hendricks is a man that can not connect, dissecting every moment every encounter, retreating from the emotional, analyzing, trying to forget but constantly remembering what he lost, until a letter from a Dr Pereira invites him for a visit to Mediterranean island, on a pretext.
This is a book about discoveries and understanding one's damaged self, and trying to make sense of a world that went mad with violence, that is mad with violence, finding solace imperfect solace, remembering that long ago you had love and had been loved.
Beautiful written with moments that are palpable, too palpable, almost painful. the descriptions of the battles are vivid, the passages of young people trying to live through war with a facsimile of what is normal are also made real and bittersweet. A book that needs time to be digested fully, because it is more realist than most and even the romantic moments are not romanticised, but exposed to human frailties.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful