The Death Of The Heart by Elizabeth Bowen

This is the kind of book I’m supposed to be getting more out of as I work on becoming more well-read. But I just didn’t get anything out of this, not even a good review. This is supposed to be a classic, or at least an important, book from the 1930s, but it just made me drowsy and dopey plodding through it and it was hard to pick up on the subtleties going on. And in 1930s British parlour rooms, it’s all about subtleties. Maybe I just don’t understand innocent characters, so Portia’s actions perplex me. I definitely got Anna though:

Having put his glass down on the carpet, Thomas boldly swung his legs up on to the bed and stretched out on [Anna’s] immaculate quilt. “I don’t think that bath has done you much good. Why can’t you just dress and why can’t I just lie here? We don’t have to keep on saying anything. However much of a monster you may be, I feel more natural with you than I feel with more natural people – if there are such things.”

“I suppose you do know that that ruins my quilt?”



A story of adolescent love and the betrayal of innocence. When sixteen-year-old Portia, recently orphaned, arrives in London and falls for an attractive cad – a seemingly carefree young man who is as much an outsider in the sophisticated and politely treacherous world of 1930s drawing rooms as she is – their collision threatens to shatter the carefully built illusions of everyone around them.