STARRED REVIEW
October 2012

The inescapable mess of family

By James Meek
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James Meek’s stunningly crafted fifth novel, The Heart Broke In, follows the exploits of Ritchie Shepherd, an aging, married pop star who is defined by the parameters of his marriage, the success of his teen talent reality show and his penchant for underage girls.

His sister, Bec Shepherd, on the other hand, fills her time not with vices but with the search for a malaria vaccine, even if it means putting her own life at risk. Bec has dared turn down the marriage proposal of megalomaniac tabloid editor Val Oatman, and Oatman’s bitter revenge—directed at Bec, using her brother—threatens not only to break apart the family, but also to ruin their livelihoods.

From the dried-out plains of Tanzania to the foggy estates dotting the London countryside, The Heart Broke In follows these all too realistic characters as they search for medical miracles, a family’s forgiveness and exoneration in the public eye. What makes Meek’s brilliant novel so compulsive and utterly enjoyable is his ability to push each of his characters to their moral limit.

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The Heart Broke In

The Heart Broke In

By James Meek
FSG
ISBN 9780374168711

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