Coolly and compellingly narrated by a man dedicated to the examination of other people's pasts and the reconstruction of their lives, this is a brilliant, dark and gripping new novel that surpasses even Hart's masterpiece, Damage. A psychiatrist, Jack is divorced and has lost his wife to a more uxorious man. His own past and that of his beautiful, ...
Coolly and compellingly narrated by a man dedicated to the examination of other people's pasts and the reconstruction of their lives, this is a brilliant, dark and gripping new novel that surpasses even Hart's masterpiece, Damage. A psychiatrist, Jack is divorced and has lost his wife to a more uxorious man. His own past and that of his beautiful, enigmatic sister Kate certainly bear scrutiny. But until he gets a phone call telling him that their family house in Ireland is for sale, he has absorbed himself in the problems of others, delving into their minds while himself remaining on the surface. He has successfully suppressed the anguish of his past, but the present threatens to unravel around him. When he finally returns to the house in Ireland, terrible truths emerge about what happened there years ago in a family tragedy that left indelible marks on those who survived it. The facts have been reconstructed many times, but the shocking truth has not. This is a remarkable novel of startling psychological insight and power, about the reckless quality of exclusive love, about the damage that families do - and try, sometimes dangerously, to undo - and about the way we build our lives from fragments of memory, half-truth, compromise, and desire.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-09-03 Hart's clever fifth novel (after Damage; Sin; Oblivion) explores the lingering influence of parents on their children. Jack Harrington, a well-to-do London psychiatrist, immerses himself in the familial problems of his patients' pasts, while admirably repressing his own childhood trauma. His sister, Kate, a seductive writer of "fluffy things," is less able to cope with that trauma, and readers learn early on that Jack's good-natured protectiveness toward his sister belies a far more disturbing sort of sibling bond. Jack and Kate's smart-set lifestyle threatens to unravel when the family estate suddenly comes up for sale at the same time as Jack's ex-wife suffers a heart attack and Kate's impending marriage plans bring her to the brink of nervous collapse. Forced to confront his demons at last, Jack retakes possession of the family homestead and reconstructs the story of his parents' marriage and its sudden, horrifying disintegration. Hart has packed this little gem of a novel with sparkling aphoristic insights befitting Jack's profession, and her sketches of fragile, childlike characters masquerading as capable adults are deftly drawn (as is that of Rose, Jack's hysterically venomous mother-in-law). The book's title takes on a multitude of meanings as the plot unfolds, most appropriately during the surprising resolution of events in the finale. (Nov. 15) Forecast: Damage, which was made into a popular film (1992), was a bestseller, and Overlook is committing serious resources to The Reconstructionist, ordering a 30,000 first printing and budgeting $30,000 for advertising. Sales should be solid, though they won't match Damage totals. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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