Excerpt from The Weight of a Human Heart by Ryan O'Neill, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Weight of a Human Heart


by Ryan O'Neill

The Weight of a Human Heart
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2013, 240 pages
    Jul 2014, 240 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Tomp

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

'Ah, Barbara,' she said. 'What do you think of this? Is it too much?'

'I'm going now, Mum,' I said, shouldering my bag. 'David is giving me a lift to the station.'

She looked down at the paper in front of her.

'Wait, don't go yet. I love you,' she said.

'What?' I said. She turned to look at me, breathing out cigarette smoke.

'This dialogue from the story. "Wait, don't go yet. I love you." Is it too much, do you think?'

'No, Mum. It's not too much,' I said. 'It's hardly enough,' and I left.

'Don't get pregnant,' she called from the window as we drove away.

I wasn't surprised when my mother killed me. The first time was a plane crash, the second I was burned alive, and the third was a swimming pool drowning. Even the critics took notice, with the Sydney Morning Herald, in its review of A Serpent's Tooth ('In just two collections, Hately has become our foremost shortstory writer') wondering at the number of young women dying in her stories. It was uncomfortable visiting home around this time, thinking that even as she made small talk, or made lunch, my mother might be planning another murder. But there must have been a limit to how often a mother could kill her daughter, as after my fourth death (from choking on a chicken bone, in a story published in Meanjin), she let me live.

Excerpted from The Weight of a Human Heart by Ryan O'Neill. Copyright © 2013 by Ryan O'Neill. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.