Monday, March 21, 2016

Where My Heart Used to Beat: A Novel by Sebastian Faulks

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book: (from Goodreads)

A sweeping drama about the madness of war and the power of love that marks acclaimed novelist Sebastian Faulks's return, after twenty years, to the fictional territory of his #1 international bestseller Birdsong

London, 1980. Robert Hendricks, an established psychiatrist and author, has so bottled up memories of his own wartime past that he is nearly sunk into a life of aloneness and depression. Out of the blue, a baffling letter arrives from one Dr. Alexander Pereira, a neurologist and a World War I veteran who claims to be an admirer of Robert's published work. The letter brings Robert to the older man's home on a rocky, secluded island off the south of France, and into tempests of memories--his childhood as a fatherless English boy, the carnage he witnessed and the wound he can't remember receiving as a young officer in World War II, and, above all, the great, devastating love of his life, an Italian woman, "L," whom he met during the war. As Robert's recollections pour forth, he's unsure whether they will lead to psychosis--or redemption. But Dr. Pereira knows. Profoundly affecting and masterfully told, Where My Heart Used to Beat sweeps through the 20th century, brilliantly interrogating the darkest corners of the human mind and bearing tender witness to the abiding strength of love.

my thoughts:

In grad school I had a friend named Eleftheria, who I called Elia.  She was wicked smart and had a great sense of style.  She was also from Cyprus, which means she spoke Greek.  And for some reason, she would always forget I was American and would wind up talking to me in Greek.  As luck would have it, I would actually understand her most of the time.  Anyhow, she was a huge fan of Sebastian Faulks novels.  She loved reading them and she loved watching Birdsong on the big screen. She introduced me to this author, but for some reason I just wasn't interested in his stories back then.

Fast forward to 2013...Faulks has published a book titled, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells.  In an homage to Wodehouse, he's written a new Bertie and Jeeves story - how awesome!  As a huge fan of Wodehouse, I was excited to read more about these two fantastic characters and see where we would find them.  Of course, I didn't get to the book until 2015.  Why did it take me so long to read it?  Well, as excited as I was, I wasn't so sure that Faulks could do justice to Bertie and Jeeves.  After all, Wodehouse is wit and humor combined.  His writing is the perfect companion to a cuppa and comfy chair.  His books are hilarious, smart, and absolutely addictive.  So, with some trepidation I eased into Faulks' version of a Wodehouse novel.  Let me just say, he hit it out of the park!  Faulks did an excellent job of writing Bertie and Jeeves - he really captured Wodehouse's voice perfectly.  I absolutely loved his story.

So, when I was given the chance to read Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks, I figured it was high time I give his own work a read.  And I'm so happy that I did. In this novel, he explored war (WWII), love, mental illness, loss, and psychiatry in an unflinching and honest manner.  His writing was atmospheric and flowed smoothly with bits of lightness mingled in the dark and dreary.  I found myself utterly fascinated by the psychiatric information regarding treatment for those suffering with mental illness - it was so interesting and eye-opening.  Though the characters were unlikeable, I still found myself wanting to learn more about them. I loved the manner in which this story unfolded and how it allowed for us to get to know the protagonist, Hendricks, so well.  It was just fantastic writing and storytelling combined.  I absolutely enjoyed reading this book and plan on reading more of Faulks' novels.  Where My Heart Used to Beat is a must-read for fans of Faulks and fans of great stories.  You will LOVE this book!

Thanks so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!


Dot said...

I really like Sebastian Faulks' writing, will have to read this one!

Nadia said...

Dot, then definitely check it out! Such a great read!!

Terra said...

I must admit I have not read any of Faulks' books, shocking I know. I definitely will read the Jeeves book, I am a big admirer of P.G. Wodehouse, and this new book looks good too.

Nadia said...

Terra, he wasn't someone whose works were on my radar until my friend Elia mentioned his books to me. But they still didn't quite interest me and then I heard about his homage to Wodehouse and that caught my attention. Definitely check it out - its such a fun read! He really did a great job with Bertie and Jeeves :)

Lisa said...

I'm not sure I remember hearing about Faulks before; will definitely need to check this out.