The Death of the Heart

The Death of the Heart

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by Elizabeth Bowen
     
 

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The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

In this piercing story of innocence

Overview

The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations.

In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the thirties, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London.There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and her fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal—and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A witty, lucid, and beautiful psychological novel.. . . By far her best book."
The New Yorker

"Bowen is a major writer. . . . She is what happened after Bloomsbury . . . the link that connects Virginia Woolf with Iris Murdoch and Muriel Spark."-------------------------------------------------------------------------- -Victoria Glendinning

"Bowen writes with both art and skillful artifice. . . . [The] quality of restraint, of the unsaid, gives her novel its curious tautness and intensity."---------------------------------------------------------------------------------The New York Times

"[The Death of the Heart] manages to make a major statement about human character. . . . We finish the book with that sense fiction nowadays rarely communicates, of life's having been mysteriously enlarged."-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The New Yorker

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385720175
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/2000
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
139,467
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.91(d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Bowen was born in Dublin in 1899. She wrote many acclaimed novels, including The Heat of the Day and Eva Trout. She was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1948. She died in 1973.

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The Death of the Heart 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is an extraordinary combination of beautifully descriptive writing and well-drawn characters. As a reader with a fondness for suspense thrillers, in which the journey is often more enjoyable than the destination, I found this book to be the opposite; the journey is worth the destination. I just read Empire Falls, another character study, which I thought fell flat in the last 80 pages. The final 50 pages of this book, on the other hand, made me want to go back and reread the whole thing. There are a number of subtle story lines here. The teenage Portia experiences betrayal from several directions but especially from her sister-in-law and temporary guardian, Anna. Anna¿s jealousy of Portia perhaps stems from the fact that Portia¿s relationship with Eddie is reminiscent of Anna¿s own youthful romance that she still yearns for. Although Anna seems to be superficially well-liked and admired, Portia observes Anna¿s condescending two-faced treatment of others, as Anna charmingly entertains guests, while secretly criticizing their lack of taste or spunk. Portia can only conclude that Anna is laughing at her behind her back as well. With regard to Eddie, Portia is constantly trying to nail down his true thoughts and feelings, but along the way she discovers that adults are rarely true to their opinions of themselves.