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My Former Heart by [Connolly, Cressida]
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My Former Heart Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 245 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description


Praise for ‘The Happiest Days’:

‘Cressida Connolly has an exact, quizzical eye, a generous imagination, and the power to draw her readers into the strangeness of being a stolen child, a lion-tamer, or a woman waiting to be tattooed’ Helen Dunmore

‘She fillets the emotions of her characters to extract sinuous uncertainties and bony truths. Excellent’ Will Self

Praise for ‘The Rare and The Beautiful’:

‘Paints some wonderfully vivid pictures of how difficult the Garmans must have been to live with.' Sunday Telegraph

'Connolly writes with great elegance and perception about this ruthlessly sensual family.' Literary Review

‘A rollicking mix of the familiar and surprising.' Sunday Times

‘A sobering coda and an often hilarious tale.' Independent

About the Author

Cressida Connolly was born in 1960. She is a journalist and reviewer. She lives in Worcestershire with her husband and three children.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1225 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007287119
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (3 Nov. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005UEXF7Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #425,700 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1942, Ruth is 8 years old when her restless mother Iris puts her on a train to stay with grandparents in the country, while she pursues a lover out in Lebanon. The novel is about three generations of women; the glamorous Iris, Ruth who comes of age in the fifties, and her daughters Isobel and Emily who develop their adult lives in the seventies and eighties.
Sparely and attractively written, the author involves us at specific times in the lives of each woman. We are moved, but not bogged down with too many details, it is enough to skip a few years and we are still in touch. The structure is both involving and refreshing.
Lives unfold, first loves don't always work out, but there is an ambience of acceptance and quiet fulfilment when love, in its various forms, comes about. There are struggles and losses, but also a recurring sense of ongoingness and inevitability about some of the relationships, as indeed the life-cycle flowing on (there is some lovely water and music imagery).

The men in the womens' lives are a varied bunch, but also some of the most beguiling characters, such as Digby the doctor, and Ruth's uncle Christopher. And there is some fine humour, not least from Birdle, Iris's determined and irascible pet parrot, or Isobel's first boyfriend Andrew who is into obscure bands, album covers and 'freaking out.'
Ruth listens to an aria by Bach 'Ich habe genug - I have enough.' At different times in her life she wonders whether the singer is weary of the travails of life (he's had enough!) or whether his acceptance of his own mortality comes from tranquility (he has enough). This novel explores and goes some way towards illustrating the question of what does it mean to 'have enough.'
A more than good enough read which I do recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
This novel tells the stories of three generations of women in the same family, and spans the period between the second world war and the end of the last century. There is Iris, who leaves her young daughter,Ruth, to be with her lover in Cairo. Ruth, in her turn, has two daughters, Isobel and Emily, and we see them through to adulthood and their own loves and losses.

These are the bare bones of the novel. The writing is smooth and effortless, and some of the descriptive writing is wonderful. The characters, too, really come to life, and are very sympathetically drawn. But I do have a couple of reservations. Firstly, the storyline does move about, between characters and also in time, and I found this sometimes interrupted the flow. Also, nothing much seems to happen, so there is little tension in the novel. The characters live out their lives, and there are the usual ups and downs, but nothing to make the story particularly compelling. I fact, I felt when I'd finished it that the novel could have ended at almost any point. Writing this review several days later, I am having difficulty in remembering exactly what did happen without referring back to the book itself. So while this was a worthwhile read, I don't think I could necessarily recommend it, hence only three stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read, enjoyed, and would recommend Cressida Connolly's biography: The Rare and the Beautiful: The Lives of the Garmans so I was interested in seeing how her fiction writing would fare. I believe she has published a book of short stories but 'My Former Heart' is her first full-length novel and one which I was looking forward to reading.

This novel tells the story of three generations of the same family: Iris Browning, her daughter, Ruth, and Ruth's daughters, Isobel and Emily. It starts during the Second World War when Iris takes Ruth to the cinema and, whilst watching a news reel showing General Montgomery in the desert, Iris sees a glimpse of her lover on film and decides to drop everything and head off to the Middle East in order try and find him. Iris sends Ruth to her paternal grandparents and arrives in Cairo but, as her search for her lover is unsuccessful, she find herself in Lebanon where she meets her future second husband, Digby. Meanwhile Ruth, although living reasonably happily with her grandparents, feels she has been abandoned by her mother and longs for her return, but when Iris does return, her love and attention has to be shared between, Ruth, Digby and Iris and Digby's new son. Ruth grows up feeling slightly ashamed of her parent's divorce and she also feels that, to her, Iris is only a good mother who is "generous in fits" and she can feel her mother "invisibly tugging away from her, like when you tried to push one magnet against another".
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All human life is here - ageing, loss, joy, fear, the confidence to take up one's pack and strike out on the path ahead, where ever it leads. Entrancing prose, putting into exquisite words the very thoughts that have recently crossed your own mind; emotions presented with forensic clarity.

No one needs to be disappointed, there's someone here to relate to whatever age the reader may be. I especially enjoyed the way you are left slightly hanging on an outcome, the times move on and you wonder what became of... then the answer is slipped casually into the conversation with an elegant ease.

Cressida Connolly you are just wonderful. I hope you can write many more such beautiful books for me to fall on and get lost in.

A total treat.
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