The Truth About Love
It's dangerous ...and that's the truth about love ...A young man shields his terrible wounds from his mother; a husband believes he can love his grief-stricken wife back to life; a young girl puts her own life on hold until her family can find their way back from blinding pain; a man surrenders to the helplessness of obsessive love. Set in Ireland, this brilliant, intense story is about a family named O'Hara who chose to remain in the place of their loss, and the stranger from Germany who has run from his. It's about love - for another, for a country, for family - and survival, and it's remarkable.
** 'THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE is an ambitious and poetic weaving of a long-ago family tragedy into the tragic history, and histories, of our time. Josephine Hart has come home in triumph' John Banville ** 'Opening with a long and impressively sustained overture of fractured, Beckettian prose, The Truth About Love is Josephine Hart's most ambitious novel to date. Her territory is not new. This is an Irish family story, in which the intimate and the political become ever-deepening metaphors for one another. There are echoes of Sebastian Barry's Costa-winning The Secret Scripture, Hugo Hamilton's memoir of a German-Irish childhood The Speckled People and the numinous fiction of Colm Toibin. As in Barry's masterful novel, a sort of archaeology of loss is undertaken and the past bleeds into the present. But Hart's unique treatment of images that have been familiar since Joyce blows the dust of anything she might be said to have inherited. The book, while often bleak, is an exhilarating adventure in language; the words throw up sparks of strange beauty. Added to this, there is a facility for vibrant characterisation that animates the novel at every point. These sufferers are not being described, but are incarnated on the page. By leaving them alone, Hart allows them to live. This is a brave novel about hurt and the elusiveness of consolation, suggesting that if the pieces of a broken life can be picked up at all they are never going to fit together again. For a novel of average length, the scope is astoundingly broad. Hart ranges widely and assertively through the mirrorland of Irish history' Joseph O'Connor GUARDIAN ** 'This is not a tale about romantic, idealised love, the kind that comes with soaring strings and sweeping gestures, but about a more dangerous kind of love: real, raw love, the sort of passion that can neither be controlled nor packaged. The anger and the selfishness of love-induced grief is brilliantly portrayed through the book, in particular through poor, tragic Sissy, already wounded by the death of a daughter. It's a bleak tale, beautifully told, about the one burden we must all, as human beings, survive: love' Sarah Vine THE TIMES ** 'The Truth is: love hurts. Particularly the kind of love which spills over into obsession. For as Josephine Hart chillingly shows in her latest novel, love can be a torture which is impossible to give up - whatever the price. Ambitious in scope, Hart's novel widens out from its quietly domestic opening to explore more than 30 years of Troubles in Ireland, and the country's potent cocktail of religion, heroism and the idealisation of the dead. Emotionally, and in often searing prose, she asks whether loving too much is not heroic, but damaging. That Hart lost siblings of her own when young only makes this focus more poignant, and might explain why there is something almost unbearably fragile about his novel. Yet despite the emotional intensity, Hart's writing is intellectually and philosophically robust' Lucy Beresford THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH ** 'The depiction of grief here seems to have a truthfulness that goes beyond a novelist's empathy. This is a curiously satisfying novel, characteristic of Josephine Hart in its moral seriousness. It takes on the condition of Ireland, the Troubles, as well as the small lives of a few individuals but the central point is well made: there is pain in the heart of love' Melanie McDonagh EVENING STANDARD
Josephine Hart was a Director of Haymarket Publishing and founded Gallery Poets before going on to produce a number of West End plays. She is the bestselling author of Damage, Sin, Oblivion and The Reconstructionist. She is married to Maurice Saatchi and has two sons.