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The Heart Broke In
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 27 January 2014
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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on 28 August 2013
Meek's strength is posing moral dilemmas in his fiction without leaving the reader with a simple solution or obvious character to cheer for. This is really in evidence in The Heart Broke In. There are multiple moral choices that the characters face and in putting morality at the centre of the novel he challenges us to think about what is the right thing to do. He can therefore be forgiven that not all the characters do not have the depth they should, not least because this is a least as much part satire as it is serious moral novel. Though sometimes these opposing ambitions do make it uneven to read.

Even where the novel does not quite come off, some of the scenario's become contrived and the scientific sub theme on life, families and destiny not always well integrated, it's still streets ahead of much else on the market. Its desire to hold up the idea that acting morally in a world that values self severing opportunists is a good thing. Even when, to be human, is also to have conflicting motivations. Its also really good on keeping the tension going and easy to read.
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on 20 October 2013
An intriguing book. Became attached to some of the characters and interested in the areas of operation of the characters - the media and scientific research. Impressed with the insider detail. Frustrating at times but witty and funny too. The sexual freedoms of the 70's seemed a bit over-egged at times, but didn't overwhelm the resolution of very human conflicts
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on 27 August 2013
This book thoroughly engrossed me at the start, I found it thrilling! Kept reading couldn't put it down. However, its a major let down I'm afraid. I don't like spoilers so I shan't say why, all I'll say is it starts off fab but I somehow felt that the author got bored in the middle and couldn't be bothered to tie it all up properly. And as for history repeating itself with the baby! (oops, spoiler) absolutely terrible!
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on 1 September 2013
A well narrated and compelling Novel. A story of loyalty, values and personal life plot where no one is left unscathed.
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on 6 May 2014
This is a clever, contemporary & compelling tale, contriving events to challenge moral identity, set amongst the best and worst of human strengths and weaknesses.
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on 18 June 2013
I enjoyed this book a lot, but felt that in places it lost its way. It is always well written, though, with some passages that you have to go back and re-read.
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on 17 January 2013
I bought this book on the basis of a good review in 'The Economist'. I rather lost my way, as characters appeared who to me had no place in the story or in the sequence of the story. Possibly my fault, not being up to reading modern literature, but I couldn't veven finish it.
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on 11 January 2013
This story has a haunting depth. The characters are well developed and the science theme flatters the intelligence. Sad and funny by turns.
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on 7 October 2012
Having read James Meeks other books I was very exited about this one. It did not disappoint. I found the science bits really interesting as it allowed you to enter the obsessive world of the characters. I read it twice - once because I was dying to see what would happen and then to actually savour the writing and content of the book. Highly recommended
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