Book Review: Where My Heart Used To Beat, Sebastian Faulks

A captivating read. Where My Heart Used To Beat, Sebastian Faulks. This a beautifully written book which captures the life of Robert Hendricks, a man who is trying to make sense of his life and is forced to revisit the events that has made up his life when he is invited to be a guest of Alexander Pereira on an island off the south coast of France, a man who crossed paths with Hendricks father in the First World War before he died, leaving Robert Hendricks at a very young age without a father whom he never got to know and whose mother wouldn't talk about. His story takes us through his war in Italy in 1944 (the author creating very powerful scenes of the Second World War), a love affair and then to his work as a doctor in the 1960's which saw much idealistic work in this field.

It's quite rare that a book can take you from the harrowing times of the trenches when all men, no matter who they were or where they were from, stood together as equals, to the intellectual life of Dr. Hendricks as a psychiatrist trying to explore the human mind, the irony of which is not lost. The book examines life's differing relationships, i.e. between family, war time friends, colleagues, lovers and strangers and the consequences of these relationships and how it shapes one's own life. What's more is the author doesn't romanticise the topics in this novel. He keeps it real. 

Despite, or in spite of, having had a rather full on life with the war and his career, he remains rather lonely and unwilling to engage or commit to romantic relationships.

It's not a typical tragic story of love and war. And it also not a fast paced book where lots of things happen, it's about the character himself and how his life has taken shape as a result of his past. It's much more profound and intelligent.