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The Death of the Heart (1938)

by Elizabeth Bowen

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,457339,289 (3.75)104
The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations. In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the thirties, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London.There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and her fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal--and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.… (more)
  1. 20
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (WSB7)
    WSB7: Both have the feeling of restraint/seil-restraint foregrounded.
  2. 00
    A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor (shaunie)
    shaunie: A Game of Hide and Seek is much more similar to Bowen than Taylor's other books, which are usually much more straightforwardly enjoyable. Here, as with Bowen, the writing's very impressive but it's frequently hard going.
  3. 00
    What Maisie Knew by Henry James (Nickelini)
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» See also 104 mentions

English (28)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Latvian (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Een pocket uit ma's boekenkast, geschreven in de jaren dertig, over een 16-jarig meisje dat na de dood van haar moeder een jaar gaat wonen bij haar halfbroer en schoonzus. Ze wordt getolereerd maar ook gezien als een lastig portret. Het leukste deel van het boek is als ze naar zee gaat, omdat Thomas en Anna met vakantie gaan. Daar heeft ze contacten met leeftijdgenoten. Haar verliefdheid op Eddie speelt een belangrijke rol, hoewel je direct al ziet dat dat een flapdrol is. Ik denk dat tante Iet dit boek aan ma heeft gegeven. Het is een beetje traag, soms filosofisch en er gebeurt vooral onderhuids van alles. ( )
  elsmvst | Jan 18, 2021 |
Bowen's masterpiece. ( )
  StephenCrome | Oct 13, 2019 |
Just plain awful. ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 5, 2019 |
It took me a long time to read this slow, patient novel, but I'm very glad I took the time. An elegaic tribute to lost innocence and a deeply moving meditation on the ways in which adulthood both educates and diminishes our hearts, the novel tells the story of sixteen year old Portia Quayle, a shy and delicate girl who lodges with her well-do-brother Thomas and his wife Anna in Edwardian London following the death of her parents. As Portia falls in love with Anna's acquaintance Eddie and takes a trip to the seaside with family friends, the scales - one by one, with heartbreaking care and patience from Bowen - are removed from her eyes and adulthood, in all its selfish, messy and "mature" guises is revealed to her. The book would undoubtedly bore some, but give it time to sink into you and it will be worth it. A sad and beautiful novel. ( )
  haarpsichord | Nov 5, 2018 |
Not my type of book -- none of the people struck me as real and Portia was the only character that I could understand... ( )
  leslie.98 | Sep 9, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
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That mornining's ice, no more than brittle film, had cracked and was now floating in segments.
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The Death of the Heart is perhaps Elizabeth Bowen's best-known book. As she deftly and delicately exposes the cruelty that lurks behind the polished surfaces of conventional society, Bowen reveals herself as a masterful novelist who combines a sense of humor with a devastating gift for divining human motivations. In this piercing story of innocence betrayed set in the thirties, the orphaned Portia is stranded in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of her wealthy half-brother's home in London.There she encounters the attractive, carefree cad Eddie. To him, Portia is at once child and woman, and her fears her gushing love. To her, Eddie is the only reaason to be alive. But when Eddie follows Portia to a sea-side resort, the flash of a cigarette lighter in a darkened cinema illuminates a stunning romantic betrayal--and sets in motion one of the most moving and desperate flights of the heart in modern literature.

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