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The Heart: Book summary and reviews of The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal

The Heart

by Maylis de Kerangal

The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal X
The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2016
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Just before dawn on a Sunday morning, three teenage boys go surfing. Returning home, exhausted, the driver lets the car drift off the road into a tree. Two of the boys are wearing seat belts; one is sent through the windshield. He is declared brain-dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. His heart is still beating.

The Heart takes place over the twenty-four hours surrounding a fatal accident and a resulting heart transplant as life is taken from a young man and given to a woman close to death. In gorgeous, ruminative prose it examines the deepest feelings of everyone involved - grieving parents, hardworking doctors and nurses - as they navigate decisions of life and death. As stylistically audacious as it is emotionally explosive, Maylis de Kerangal's The Heart has mesmerized readers in France, where it has been hailed as the breakthrough work of a new literary star.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [De Kerangal's] writing is uncommonly beautiful and never lacking humanity. The poetic interrogation of our contemporary medical reality affords a view only literature can provide." - Publisher's Weekly

"Starred Review. Kerangal infuses each beautifully rendered element with multiple dimensions of meaning and emotion to create a sensuous and propulsive novel of tragedy and hope." - Booklist

"I read The Heart in a single sitting. It is a gripping, deceptively simple tale - a death, a life resurrected - in which you follow along as everyone touched by the events is made to reveal what matters most to them in their lives. I was completely absorbed." - Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal

"If function dictates form, Maylis de Kerangal's The Heart is a perfect novel - its writing as measured and precise as a scalpel in the hands of a gifted surgeon. The pure beauty of these short, sharp cuts has produced a devastating and brilliant work." - Anita Shreve, author of Stella Bain

"[The Heart] is a splendid title and a splendid book ... Before this fifth novel, [de Kerangal] was considered one of the most promising French novelists. [The Heart] is more than a promise; in France it was an immediate bestseller, and has remained so from the beginning to the end of 2014 and reconciled the most demanding literary critics with the largest audience." - Emmanuel Carrere, author of Limonov, Publisher Weekly's Top Authors Pick Their Favorite Books of 2014

The information about The Heart shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Maylis de Kerangal

Maylis de Kerangal is the author of several novels in French, including Je marche sous un ciel de traîne (2000), La vie voyageuse (2003), Corniche Kennedy (2008), and Naissance d'un pont (published in English as Birth of a Bridge, winner of the Prix Franz Hessel and Prix Médicis in 2010). She has also published a collection of short stories, Ni fleurs ni couronnes (2006), and a novella, Tangente vers l'est (winner of the 2012 Prix Landerneau).

In addition, she has published a fiction tribute to Kate Bush and Blondie titled Dans les rapides (2007). In 2014, her fifth novel, parer les vivants (The Heart), was published to wide acclaim, and won the Grand Prix RTL-Lire and the Student Choice Novel of the Year from France culture and Télérama. She lives in Paris, France.

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