Where My Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks - review by Mark Lawson

Mark Lawson

Battle of Minds

Where My Heart Used to Beat

By

Hutchinson 326pp £20 order from our bookshop
 

One of the odder subgenres of English literature is war books by novelists who were born after the war. Three near-contemporaries, Sebastian Faulks, Louis de Bernières and William Boyd, all frequently write fiction inspired by the world wars.

So it is perhaps unsurprising that – in the year that marks the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end and in which events to mark the centenary of the First World War continue – each member of this trio has responded with a project that encompasses both of the global bloodbaths: de Bernières’s The Dust That Falls from Dreams, Boyd’s Sweet Caress and, from Faulks, Where My Heart Used to Beat.

T S Eliot, in the second of his Four Quartets, laments ‘twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres’, but it is the years after the two wars, thirty-five of them also largely wasted, that bother Dr Robert Hendricks, narrator of Faulks’s thirteenth novel. Hendricks, a semi-retired psychiatrist, grew up without knowing his father, who died in battle in 1918, and went on

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter