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Next Up: The Death Of The Heart

The brief, enjoyable reading that was Red Harvest is now behind me, and it’s time to move on to my 71st book. Next up on the Time list is The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen.

Bowen tells the story of a 16-year-old orphan girl who moves to London to live with her half-brother and ends up falling in love with her sister-in-law’s friend. That’s a brief one-sentence description, but here are a few quick facts about The Death of the Heart and Elizabeth Bowen:

  •  Published in 1938, The Death of the Heart has been called a “pre-war” novel by Bowen because it “reflected the pre-war time with its high tension, increasing anxieties, and this great stress on individualism.”
  • In addition to being on the Time list, The Death of the Heart was also featured as one of the Modern Library’s top 100 modern novels.
  • The book was adapted into a TV mini-series in 1986 starring people I have never heard of.
  • Though The Death of the Heart was probably Bowen’s most famous novel, she published many others, including The Heat of the Day and Eva Trout, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1969 and was shortlisted in 1970 for the Booker Prize.
  • Bowen died in 1973, at the age of 73, after a bout with lung cancer.

So off I go into The Death of the Heart.

I’ve heard of Elizabeth Bowen, but I’m not very familiar with her work so I’ve obviously never read this novel.

Who’s familiar with it?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jetagain #

    About 20 years ago I started one of her other novels (which one?) and never got past the second chapter–really, really boring.


    May 1, 2014
    • Her opening isn’t the most intriguing. I’ll say that.


      May 1, 2014
  2. I read this book my junior year of high school, so almost five years ago. I don’t remember the entire story line that the plot followed, but I do remember being somewhat bored with it at the beginning. Though, I was probably too immature and hurrying toward summer vacation! I did, however, find parts of the paper I had to write for my book review.

    One section I do remember writing about:
    “I’m a person you ought to be frightened of.” (Eddie)
    “But you are the only person who doesn’t frighten me.” (Portia) page 249

    It is the relationship between these two character that kept me reading.

    I am looking forward to your review and am considering picking this story up again!


    May 1, 2014
    • The quote you have there has me interested. I will wait for the review as everyone seems to think it is a slog, but I am interested.


      May 2, 2014
  3. Liz #

    I read it. Didn’t get it. Felt like a slog to get through. I’ll be curious to see what you think. Maybe I was missing something.


    May 2, 2014

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