The Heart Broke In

James Meek. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-16871-1
At the heart of British writer Meek’s seventh work of fiction (after We Are Now Beginning Our Descent) are brother and sister Ritchie, has-been pop-star, and Bec Shepherd, promising malaria researcher, whose father was killed by an IRA man when the Shepherds were just kids. Then there’s Alex Comrie, former drummer in Ritchie’s band, the Lazygods, now a gene therapist and reluctant heir to his brilliant Uncle Harry’s cancer research institute. Val Oatman, editor of a tabloid newspaper, watches all of them until they become famous—or notorious—enough for him to take them down. Both Alex and Val fall in love with the beautiful, intelligent, and honest Bec, who’s begun using herself as a guinea pig for her own research. In this novel, the Dickensian coincidences on which the plot often turns can stretch our present-day credulity, in part because they’ve fallen out of fashion in contemporary literary fiction, in part because the rest of Meek’s novel is so bent on verisimilitude. Still, there is much to enjoy in this ambitious portrait of deeply human characters, grappling with how to live in the modern world, where science is capable of almost anything, including, as Alex’s uncle hopes, immortality. Agent: Natasha Fairweather, AP Watt. (Oct. 2)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2012
Release date: 10/02/2012
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FORMATS
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-374-70932-7
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-250-03777-0
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4434-1378-7
Paperback - 978-0-85786-291-4
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