Hearts and Minds seems to be one of the most praised books on the Orange long list this year. It’s London setting appealed to me and so I decided to read it, despite the fact it didn’t make the short list.
Hearts and Minds gives a snap-shot of life in London today. Its range of characters shows the diversity of people living in the capital city and the problems faced by them. We see asylum seekers, teachers, prostitutes, taxi-drivers and a whole range of other people. I normally struggle to cope with this many characters, but the vividness of the writing meant that each one jumped off the page and I had no trouble keeping track of them all.
The book impressively manages to combine a murder mystery with literary fiction. In many ways it reminded me of The Road Home by Rose Tremain, but I actually think that Hearts and Minds is the better book.
The story is split into several narratives which at first seem independent, but as it progresses connections are made until everything comes together in the final poignant chapters.
This isn’t a pleasant read; we witness the worst of London society, but the power of the words had me gripped from beginning to end.
I have no idea why this book didn’t make the Orange short list. It deserved to be there.
The Thoughts of Other Bloggers
…even more gripping and packs more of a punch than anything I’ve read in 2010 so far. The B Files
It is page after page of unrelenting misery. Books Please
….characters so well-drawn that they become so close to you It’s a Crime!
…somehow Amanda Craig touches on the reality and the truth of this and you really do want to weep. Dovegreyreader
Are you planning to read Hearts and Minds?
Why didn’t this make the Orange short list?