The Truth About Love, By Josephine Hart

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"Why does the mind allow intrusion against our will?" ponders one character in this moving novel, set in a small town in Ireland. It is such intrusions which make up the gripping passages in this novel, as Josephine Hart explores the differing ways we deal with trauma and loss.

While the O'Hara family remain in the place associated with their pain, the mysterious stranger Thomas Middlehoff from Germany has tried to flee his. "The elective outsider, the truthful observer of the scene, requires an anatomical eye, which I have endeavoured over the years to develop," says Middlehoff. It is its insight into the psyche of the outsider that is the strength of this novel, as Hart is adept at balancing the "anatomical eye" with the mourning heart and the thinking head.

These "intrusions" also have their effect stylistically and Hart seems a linguistic descendant of Beckett and Joyce as she dispenses with linear narrative for the purposes of showing how the mind works, in prose that reveals as much the truth about language as it does about love.

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