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The Heart Broke In Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

3.8 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 12 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook 12CD edition (1 July 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471218600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471218606
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,011,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


James Meek's new novel has all the urgent readability of his previous work combined with a wide-ranging vision of social and personal responsibility that's very rare in current fiction. I suppose we could call it a moral thriller. Whatever we call it, I was enormously impressed. (Philip Pullman) Addictive ... Meek is a novelist of Dostoevskyan intensity and seriousness ... Terrific ... You have to admire the scope and ambition of this operatic saga (Guardian) Intelligent, compelling and epic in scale (Woman & Home) Page-turning and absorbing (Victoria Moore Daily Mail) James Meek is Britain's answer to Don DeLillo (Brian Morton Independent) In a literary culture that rewards narrow little books by sixtysomething white men about what it's like to be a sixtysomething white man, Meek's range, humour and boldness are a joy (Louise Doughty Observer) Set in the near future, [Meek's] sinister media underworld hits on the zeitgeist ... the characterisation is affectionate and the story is gripping (We Love This Book) An enjoyable, thought-provoking read, going beyond satire to throw the questions back to the reader (Andrea Mullaney Scotland on Sunday) This is a big juicy slab of a book, as thrilling and nourishing as a Victorian three-parter ... Meek constantly shift's the reader's own moral foundations, as we try to decide who is doing right and wrong and why and how (Whynn Weldon Spectator) The Heart Broke In is a realistic slice of life at the bench, reflect ing both the admirable and the unflattering qualities of scientists (Nature Magazine) This page-turning tale ranges over contemporary London like a magnet, tugging up the nuggets of friction that make a great book ... the writing is at times so lovely that it shouldn't be rushed, but savoured (Louise Chunn Psychologies Magazine) Meek's characterization is excellent and the dilemmas he gives the players in his drama are convincing and intense enough to hurt ... he manages to do this while keeping the pages turning as fast as any thriller. This is a feast of a novel, to which I shall return again and again (Elsbeth Linder Book Oxygen) Meeks looks at the question of family, what it means and how actions affect the people in it. He weaves complicated lives, entwines characters in layers and layers of history until they can't breathe or escape from each other (Claire Snook Bookmunch) Meek's novel is energised by a dynamic interplay of social, cultural, philosophical and scientific ideas, and as befits a big, serious fiction, it has the courage to address big, serious issues (Trevor Lewis The Sunday Times) A novel shimmering with black humour, which for the sheer verve of the writing deserves a long shelf life (Lucy Beresford The Sunday Telegraph) The burning desire to discover how it all pans out propels one to finish this bravura book by a remarkable writer (The Lady) A wonderfully sharp, intelligently observed and often very funny novel (Toby Clements The Telegraph) Plenty to relish in this topical novel pitched enjoyably between thriller and satire (Metro) The Heart Broke In is an absorbing family saga with Forsterian ambitions ... In this compelling novel Meek, with his vivid characterisation and narrative drive, succeeds in engaging the heart as well as the head (Annalema McAfee Financial Times 20120929) The Heart Broke In has a dizzying reach, playing science off religion, cynics against lovers, atheists against believers ... it's a book that doesn't want to do your thinking for you (Olivia Cole GQ 20121101) The lyricism and wry wit with which Meek writes means this is a fine novel, and an excellent representation of how we live now (Daniel Davies The Skinny 20121001) An engrossing novel structured around grand eternal themes but pin-sharp and peopled with characters you wish you knew (Good Book Guide) Lively and compelling (William Leith Evening Standard) While written with the accessibility of a mainstream novel, this is an ideas-heavy book that works on various levels: as a psychological thriller of sorts, a family saga and a meditation on a host of issues which, like the DNA in our cells, have never been put together in quite this way before (Alastair Mabbott The Herald) This is an absorbing tale from an accomplished writer (Sunday Business Post)

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award 2012 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sukie VINE VOICE on 23 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a big novel both physically (over 500 pages) and in terms of content. Meek isn't afraid to tackle difficult subjects - science v religion, the cost that comes with success, betrayal and forgiveness, sibling rivalry, parenthood, love, ethics... - but maintains a light touch with such heavyweight topics so that the book is always readable and fascinating.

Bec and Ritchie are the central characters - brother and sister who couldn't be more different. Former rock star and TV producer Ritchie's star might just be on the wane and he is desperate to keep hold of all the trappings of fame he has acquired - the luxury home he shares with his wife and children, his money and status. Yet with a media storm poised to break about his fifteen-year-old lover, he's on the brink of losing everything.

Bec, meanwhile, is a scientist whose research has led to a breakthrough in the quest for a malaria vaccine. She's the light side to Ritchie's darkness, yet she might just have made herself a dangerous enemy who is out for revenge.

Both characters are well-drawn and convincing, as are the minor characters that populate the story. Meek seems incredibly knowledgable about the science world, as well as TV production/media, and I was completely drawn in to the action.
I wasn't expecting this to be such a witty novel but there are moments of real comedy genius, and some brilliant asides that show what a sharp, smart writer Meek is. I loved legendary scientist Harry meeting the dogwear-designer for instance - just a wonderful set-up. Also Ritchie's hope that his young son is a school bully so that other children will fear him in the playground - such a warped hope for one's child speaks volumes about Ritchie's state of mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finished this a few days ago and still can't quite make up my mind. On the postive side - it's a good read and you do want to keep turning the pages. But what is it? It's full of caricatures, rather than real characters. It's funny but it's not a black comedy. I think it's problem is that it wants to be taken seriously as a 'moral thriller', as Philip Pullman says on the cover, but it doesn't quite make it. Comparisons to Dickens are completely OTT. Dickens could get away with characters who are almost caricatures of types of people, because he made them real and you believed in them. You can't do that with Meek's cast - engaging and amusing though some of them are. The morality is too simplistic - too stark, too black and white. Real morality is much more complex and real people are just, well more real than this set of collection of rather superficial characters. It would have been better done as black comedy. It almost makes it: Richie - the talent show slimeball; Bec - Miss Goodietwoshoes; Alex - the scientist with a touch of Aspergers; and Val the hypocritical News of the World-style moralistic editor.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Meet Ritchie Shepherd an ex rock musician of questionable merit who used to front erstwhile chart toppers `the Lazygods'. He has now re-invented himself as a TV presenter for `Teen Makeover' which is one of those talent show competition type things, the only proviso is they have to be teenagers, which is right up his alley as he has a thing for young girls; a very big thing for very young girls that is.

His sister Bec is a malaria researcher who has taken her calling very seriously indeed even being self infected with a newly discovered parasite to see if it is a cure all. She has just turned down a marriage proposal to a very powerful newspaper editor, who is slightly twisted to put it mildly and takes up with one of Ritchie's old band mates Alex. He is a bit of a medical research wiz too following the footsteps of his much loved uncle Henry who is hilarious by the way. He thinks he has stumbled across a process that may actually be able to challenge ageing and is hailed as the wunder child of the medical world, so his getting together with Bec seems like a match made in heaven.

The problem is Bec's ex lover has dirt on everyone and after a bit of a wig out sets up a blackmailing web site where in order to be let off the hook you have to dish the smut on someone close to you - a sort of Wiki - backstab type thing. The thing is how far would you go to protect your self if they had the dirt on you?

I absolutely loved this; it is funny, well written engaging, inventive and highly original. Praised by Louis De Bernieres author of `Captain Correli's Mandolin', which has to be high praise indeed. This is the sort of book that would make for a great TV adaptation, but I think you may lose some of the story in the richness of the text which is both accessible and high quality making this an absolute gem of a read. Can not recommend highly enough, one to read again and again and tell your friends about - James Meek has written literary gold.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Meek came to my attention with his strange but wonderful Booker longlisted novel, The People's Act Of Love which was set in 1919 Siberia and featured a strange religious cult and a sociopathic escaped prisoner - I loved it. The Heart Broke In is totally different in setting, but does have more of Meek's enigmatic writing...

The Heart Broke In tackles the subject of sibling rivalry, primarily seen through the eyes of Ritchie Shepherd, a rock star turned TV producer, and his sister Bec a malaria researcher. Sibling rivalry might sound a small theme, but this is a big novel, and Meek takes an expansive as well as microscopic examination of the lives of Ritchie and Bec by looking through the lens of love and betrayal...

Ritchie used to be guitarist in a rock'n'roll band, Lazygods, together with his wife Karin. Now, they live in a big house with their two lovely children, and Ritchie the successful producer of an X-Factor for teens style show. Apart from production troubles, there's a hotly denied rumour going around that Ritchie has been seeing a fifteen year old. Very sad, very rock'n'roll, very of the zeitgeist. You just know that it will come back to bite him eventually.

Whilst Ritchie's life is constrained by family and job, his younger sister Bec has no such ties now. She was going out with Val, the Editor of a red-top newspaper, but when he got too serious she called it off. A medical researcher, she's a free spirit, going where her work takes her. Then she makes a discovery - finding a microscopic parasite that gives partial immunity to malaria. She infects herself - only trouble is that uncontrolled, the parasite causes spells of temporary blindness.
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