The Heart Broke In

James Meek

The Heart Broke In

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile He made a crooked deal and he blew a crooked pile He dug a crooked hole. And he sank the crooked isle And they all went to hell in a stew of crooked bile. "The Devil I Know" is a thrilling novel of greed and hubris, set against the backdrop of a brewing international debt crisis. Told by Tristram, in the form of a mysterious testimony, it recounts his return home after a self-imposed exile only to find himself trapped as a middle man played on both sides - by a grotesque builder he's known since childhood on the one hand, and a shadowy businessman he's never met on the other. Caught between them, as an overblown property development begins in his home town of Howth, it follows Tristram's dawning realisation that all is not well. 4.0 out of 5 based on 7 reviews
The Heart Broke In

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format Hardcover
Pages 551
RRP
Date of Publication August 2012
ISBN 978-0857862907
Publisher Canongate Books
 

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile He made a crooked deal and he blew a crooked pile He dug a crooked hole. And he sank the crooked isle And they all went to hell in a stew of crooked bile. "The Devil I Know" is a thrilling novel of greed and hubris, set against the backdrop of a brewing international debt crisis. Told by Tristram, in the form of a mysterious testimony, it recounts his return home after a self-imposed exile only to find himself trapped as a middle man played on both sides - by a grotesque builder he's known since childhood on the one hand, and a shadowy businessman he's never met on the other. Caught between them, as an overblown property development begins in his home town of Howth, it follows Tristram's dawning realisation that all is not well.

Drivetime by James Meek

Reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Toby Clements

The fallout is spectacular but cathartic, and brings to an end a wonderfully sharp, intelligently observed and often very funny novel, peopled by a cast of characters slightly too intimidating and cerebral to ring wholly true, but who are never dull.

20/09/2012

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The Independent

Brian Morton

The Heart Broke In marks a deepening of the vision of The People's Act of Love and We Are Now Beginning Our Descent. The chief characters are rock star-turned-television producer Ritchie Shepherd, formerly of the Lazydogs, and Ritchie's sister Bec, a medical researcher. On first encounter, they seem like schematics for sense and sensibility, hedonism and anhedonia, selfishness and responsibility … Where DeLillo sustains a brittle, glassy idiom, Meek, like Tolstoy, surrenders to the human. Halfway through, the heart breaks in, a real chronology begins, and cool, detached satire gives way to a complex meditation on death and time and the family.

01/09/2012

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The Daily Mail

Victoria Moore

As the drama unfolds, moving from an African village to a first world science lab to a teen talent TV show so the pressure is cranked up. Page-turning and absorbing.

30/08/2012

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The Spectator

Wynn Wheldon

As we know, unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, but here each set of siblings contains one good guy and one bad. The goodness and the badness is not absolute. These characters are recognisably themselves, more than cyphers for the novelist’s themes … Meek constantly shifts the reader’s own moral foundations, as we try to decide who is doing right and wrong and why and how. It is a generous, kind book, and it is kindness, an immutable quality, that is presented here as the antidote to dogmatic moralising.

25/08/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Lucy Beresford

After so much juicy content, it’s perhaps not surprising that the ending is downbeat, highlighting as it does the unfairness of life. Still, there’s a swagger to Meek’s prose which is as compelling as Ritchie must have once been on stage (although Bowie, or was it Bono, thought he sang “like a dog trying to get back inside the house”), and he bestows a certain poetry on Bec’s clinical routine in the lab. There may not be much warmth in Meek’s pungent observations about our parasitic tendencies, but it’s a novel shimmering with black humour

13/09/2012

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The Sunday Times

Trevor Lewis

While his latest work displays a soaring ambition and impressive scope in its anatomy of the modern condition and society’s moral dislocation, the novel is also buffeted at key points by erratic characterisation, far-fetched plotting and overwrought set pieces.

09/09/2012

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The Guardian

Theo Tait

The Heart Broke In is seldom less than compelling. It also has many terrific individual episodes. Meek is good on slightly messed-up family relations. He has a nice sense of the absurd: there's a very funny sequence set in Papua New Guinea, featuring a libidinous ornithologist and his garrulous partner. The main plot, however, becomes overwrought as it reaches its climax, and his prose and characters sometimes strain under the weight they are required to bear.

24/08/2012

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