Katie's Reviews > The Death of the Heart

The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
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's review
Nov 19, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: top-100-novels
Read in November, 2008

This book is really more of a character study than plot driven. The writing is almost a cross between Henry James and Edith Wharton.

About a 16 year old orphan, Portia, who comes home to England after living abroad (almost in exile) with her father and his mistress-turned-second-wife. Following his father's wishes, her half brother takes her in (for a year only) against his wife's misgivings. They are rather horrid snobs who hate everything, and never say what they mean. This tendency drives Portia to the one person she feels is genuine--Eddie, who is a genuine cad! One of the great ironies of this book is that she doesn't see Eddie's faults, but she sees through everyone else's pretenses.

The many deep introspective passages make this book well worth the read.
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11/19/2008 page 111

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Carly You nailed it. A cross between James and Wharton. I think James holds up better than Wharton. At least philosophically. But they both are so bloodless. It's so hard to care, in 2009. Bowen is the bane of Lit Majors. Her reputation is sacred, but her books gather dust. I tend, more and more, to think of this group as "The Constipated".

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