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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  2,920 Ratings  ·  390 Reviews
A successful doctor and politician arrives at middle age and the high point of his career, having pursued a dutiful and passionless life. Then he becomes obsessed by his son's lover, the strange and secretive Anna.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Virago Press (UK) (first published 1991)
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Mar 08, 2009 Ja'net rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"And round every meeting with her spun a ribbon of certainty that my life had already ended. It had ended in the split second of my first sight of her.

It was time out of life. Like an acid it ran through all the years behind me, burning and destroying."

I ate this book for lunch. Delicious.
Oh good gravy.
Let's start with the facts.
Fact: This book is VERY well written.
Fact: It is also VERY short, which allowed for me to read it in its entirety in under 3 hours.
Fact: Symbolism runs rampant, which I love.
Fact: Damage is an excellent title and describes perfectly what happens when obsession overrides sanity. Or, in the eyes of our MC, what happens when one finally finds "passion." (passion= being a man whore pyscho....but whatever. Also, this fact is turning into an opinion....)

JaHy☝Hold the Fairy Dust

"There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for the outlines all of our lives"
This is the story of a man, whom appears to have the dream life.. ..wealth, intelligence, power, successful marriage, prestige. So why does he spend countless hours wondering....Why he is so unhappy? How someone that appears to have it all, can feel so empty? When did he lose control of his life? And most i mportantly, why does he feel dead inside? ....
Feb 20, 2013 charta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa, europa
Già. Quello che ho subito io chi me lo risarcisce?
Questa non è una historia de amor, de locura y de muerte bensì una presa per i fondelli.
Non c'è verosimiglianza, non c'è profondità, non c'è erotismo, assenti i sentimenti.
La distanza da un pornazzo è minima.
Suspence, questa sconosciuta: si scopre tutto subito. Binomio scopereccio inserito fra parentesi tonde all'interno di una espressione assai complessa. Lei è la schiava: rivoltata, ripassata e ricomposta come e meglio della cicorietta in padel
"C'è un paesaggio interiore, una geografia dell'anima; ne cerchiamo gli elementi per tutta la vita"

Bello nonostante la vaga sensazione di incompiutezza che lascia – e ben più complesso e coinvolgente della sua riduttiva e un po’ banale trasposizione cinematografica – il romanzo è pervaso in ogni pagina da un senso di angosciosa ineluttabilità, in un climax di tensione ed emozioni, che prepara e prelude alla tragedia finale.
La passione divorante che irrompe - non cercata, eppure inconsciamente a
I absolutely loved the opening line of this novel. "There is an internal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives." It goes on to say "Those who are lucky enough to find it ease like water over a stone, onto its fluid contours and are home... An efficient dissembler, I gently and silently smoothed the rough edges of my being. I hid the awkwardness and pain with which I inclined toward my chosen outline, and tried to be what those I loved expected me to be."

Cynthia Haggard
Oct 27, 2011 Cynthia Haggard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DAMAGE, a novella by Josephine Hart is a chilling tale of obsession and of the unintended consequences of ungovernable love. Now made into a movie starring Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche, and directed by the late Louis Malle, I have to say that reading the novella didn’t add anything to the experience of seeing the movie. Which is unusual.

Perhaps it is because Louis Malle was such a great director. Or maybe it is because this tale is so chilling that it needed little enhancement.

What is inte
I felt like I was engaged in a long, drawn-out battle of fisticuffs with this novel; with my opponent being an otherwise placid Englishman lecturing me properly on the sporting necessity of the Marquess of Queensberry rules as he jabbed me almost apologetically with knuckles pointed upward and outward and cloaked in dainty boxing gloves; his endurance greater than mine as he slowly but surely battered my face to a pulp in patient, cumulative, and ultimately devastating fashion.
The novel is popul
Apr 23, 2011 Lorraine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bullshit. Absorbing enough as a read, but utter bullshit. The whole 'undermining respectable middle class life' is so cliche. Goodness. 'One hasn't lived life by following some social template'. This has been done to death and this book is one of the more pathetic attempts to get that idea across. I found the prose corny. Apparently I was supposed to get all excited over the 'poetic' parts of this book but -- I'm sorry -- I've read MUCH better writers. Josephine Hart is a hack. She's not just a ...more
Jun 11, 2012 Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una trama all’apparenza semplice, un uomo di mezza eta’ con una famiglia perfetta, un lavoro perfetto, una posizione pubblica perfetta, insomma una vita perfetta e come tutte le cose troppo perfette destinata a crollare al primo soffio di vento; in realta’ e’ chiaro da subito che il protagonista vive incastrato consapevolmente nell’apparenza di una vita tranquilla, e infatti in quell’istante che puo' capitare a chiunque in cui deve decidere se restare nel suo piccolo angolo di mondo tranquillo m ...more
Jul 21, 2012 Marleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

By the time the narrator of this story is fifty he has lived his life almost as if by accident. An unexceptional childhood followed by an impassionate marriage and successful but unfulfilling careers, first as a G.P and subsequently as an upstanding but unremarkable Member of Parliament. A life lived without strong emotions of any kind. A life which, had it ended in the narrator’s fiftieth year, would have been widely respected and total
♆ BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
I found this book when I was still in high school. It was a bad time for me. At the time I was upset and confused. Mostly, I was angry at males and the patriarchal society. I didn't know how to relate as a trained under duress strong female who had suppressed submissive tendencies.

I also thought there was something wrong with me. The title of this book caught my attention. Damage. How true. I read this book and I was horrified at how a seemingly perfect life could go terribly wrong. I could unde
A powerful, scaldingly erotic, shattering read about obsession and sexual doom. (And, yes--- Jeremy Irons was perfect as the hero in the film) "Damage" is quiet, chill, deeply disturbing and alluring in its austere prose--- a gripping tale of amour fou and a Dark Lady who's all the more frightening in her self-knowledge and gentleness. Very much a favourite.
Emmanuelle Maupassant
Damage is a tale of desperate erotic obsession, and its inevitable path to destruction.

The narrative, told by the male protagonist, eminently respectable, and respected, cabinet minister Fleming, is clinical in its formality, in keeping with his social position. His life revolves around public service, and the care of his family and, at the heart of this seeming ‘order’ he is deeply unhappy.

This very formality, with its lack of true passion, has suffocated him, so that we have some understandin
On the surface, Damage is about a middle-aged man who has an affair with a younger woman. Pretty standard dramatic fare, right? But wait--there's more. The younger woman in question happens to be his son's fiancée, and the man in question happens to be a member of Parliament.

There is much more at work here than mere lust, or even mere love. No, it is sexual obsession that dominates this story, an obsession so pervasive that it propels the narrator to unspeakable lows. It propels the narrative t
Apr 30, 2012 Rachelcurran_ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: owned-books
I bought this book in a library sale for 10p as a mistake, the blurb on the edition I have led me to believe this was a book about damaged people and "psychological darkness". Instead I ended up reading the most unbelievable, cliché characters, predictable basic storyline from the start and a whole lot of crap about sex and incest. What an appalling read and a complete waste of my time. The writing is in a constant "i-am-trying-to-create-suspense-and-mystery" style which fails completely.

Jul 01, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book is like watching a train wreck. You know from the beginning that it's all going to end badly, the author even tells you so. She tells the story of a man's obsession with a woman in the first person. I didn't feel her "male voice" was a very true. I'd be interested to hear what male readers think of the protagonist's thoughts and actions. I give it 4 stars for compulsive readability rather than craft...I couldn't put it down.
Aug 18, 2016 Freesiab rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This little book Is pretty twisted and I liked it. I can't say much with out bringing down the house of cards. I live the minimalist writing style because it fit the story so well. If you think your family is dysfunctional you'll feel much better after this book. It's just messed up and you should read it!
Jan 29, 2012 CuteBadger rated it really liked it
A married, middle-aged MP becomes obsessed with his son’s girlfriend – a fixation that turns his life and that of his family upside down.

I’ve been meaning to read this novel for a long time, probably since I saw the film version in the mid-1990s, but had somehow never got round to it. Having read it, I’m sorry I waited so long for such an intense and physical experience. I don’t now remember much about the film which is a blessing as I wouldn’t have wanted it to interfere with the experience of
Daniel Villines
Jun 28, 2015 Daniel Villines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like to think of myself as a generally good person, but in doing so I also contemplate the speculative limits to my goodness. Where do I fall off the edge? The honest answer probably involves a blinding temptation and a mental perception that I'll get away with the crime, be it based in greed or passion. I like to think that such 'opportunities' are a rarity in life. After all, there is no greater threat to temptation and perceptions than that of rational thought. And yet, those elements must ...more
Ho letto il libro, che è peraltro piuttosto breve, perché mi è capitato di vederne il non recente film dallo stesso titolo diretto da Louis Malle e che, pur essendomi piaciuto in linea generale, non mi aveva convinto.

La domanda principale che mi ponevo era chi è davvero questa inquietante Anna, che travolge la vita di tutti, protagonisti e comprimari, finendo per rivoltarli come guanti?

Pensavo che il romanzo mi avrebbe dato tracce e indizi più concreti di lei, motivazioni più credibili, una ps
Apr 08, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have in the past read mixed reviews of Josephine Hart's debut thriller of erotic obsession, but finally decided to pick up a copy of "Damage" due to my plan this year to focus on female authors, together with my having enjoyed the film adaptation. Whilst the book is in as places as melodramatic and overwrought as the film, it proved a pleasant surprise: consistently entertaining, convincingly conveying sexual obsession without the need for too much explicit sex, and in places extremely insight ...more
Nihal Vrana
This book tries to shock you with such trite stuff that you feel sorry for it. It is supposedly poetic, but it is poetic only in the way for the people who do not have a good sense of poetry (like some pop songs might be appealing for tone-deaf people). It is a bondage/ fantasy book, which cannot accept this fact and it tries to act like something more literary.

It was laying there in the collection of my mom's summer books. I did not have any books to read with me and not knowing any of the auth
Oct 19, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those backs where I think you are suppose to dislike the two main characters. I mean, honestly, look at the title. It is powerful because it deals with different types of damage - in people and by people.

The writing was very gripping and kept the reader's attention. But I'm not sure if I would re-read it.
Apr 20, 2013 Lynda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A rapier of a read. Cool clear devastating. Amazing how such a slim novel can convey so much passion. Jeremy Irons played the protagonist in the firm and was cast exactly right. Damage attracts damage .
Christina Wilder
Incredibly hypnotic, with poetic prose, but almost clinical in its approach. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but while I found this book enthralling, I was not in love.
Jenna~Ice Queen~Dreams
Bit too "rich" for my taste. :) Very good book though!
Aug 27, 2013 Adrienne rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-loan
the words scandal and politician/celebrity mean very little to me , in other words i have no interest what so ever in the gloating and gossip mongering that accompanies this mostly british phenomenon. neither do i understand those who bemoan their lot but when an opportunity arises then further moan about it. Perhaps i just don't get it! On p39 which is now chapter 10 our protag has unprotected sex (this is not erotic romance) with his son's girlfriend, following a phone call that runs like this ...more
Damage is one of those novels that you know from the start is not going to end well. It tells you so in almost the first paragraph, but therein lies the draw. What happens to make such a statement? What could possess someone to conscientiously do something so wrong that would cause him or her to make a blanket assessment like that? The resulting pages are every bit as horrific, emotional and intensely personal as the narrator cautions the reader to expect. Short but powerful, Damage is like watc ...more
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Josephine Hart was born and educated in Ireland. She was a director of Haymarket Publishing, in London, before going on to produce a number of West End plays, including The House of Bernarda Alba by Frederico Garcia Lorea, The Vortex by Noel Coward, and The Black Prince by Iris Murdoch. She was married to Maurice Saatchi and had two sons. She was the author of Damage. Hart died, aged 69, of ovaria ...more
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“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” 518 likes
“All damaged people are dangerous. Survival makes them so.' 'Why?' 'Because they have no pity. They know what others can survive, as they did.” 42 likes
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