The Weighing of the Heart
By: Paul Tudor Owen
Publication Date: March 22, 2019 (Obliterati Press)
Genre: Literary Fiction
Following a sudden break-up, Englishman in New York Nick Braeburn takes a room with the elderly Peacock sisters in their lavish Upper East Side apartment, and finds himself increasingly drawn to the priceless piece of Egyptian art on their study wall – and to Lydia, the beautiful Portuguese artist who lives across the roof garden.
But as Nick draws Lydia into a crime he hopes will bring them together, they both begin to unravel, and each find that the other is not quite who they seem.
Paul Tudor Owen’s intriguing debut novel brilliantly evokes the New York of Paul Auster and Joseph O’Neill.
The Weighing of the Heart is a wonderfully written novel by Paul Tudor Owen. Its one that essentially follows the main character Nick who truly starts off as a very likeable character and appealing to all of those people around him. However, throughout the slender length and with that, a well-paced storytelling skills, Nick’s character starts to fall apart. His character becomes the central focus as it seems that there is a lot more than what is shown with a lot of questions of his past and the little details that pop up. Its because Nick is such a character that it makes the story develop in a way that when the decision to go through with a wrong act leads both him and his girlfriend Lydia start showing their division. Their characters span out to how they cope with the whatever guilt they have.
As charming as Nick’s character is drawn out, its the central focus on a piece of artwork called The Weighing of the Heart that dives into Egyptian mythology and becomes something that, in some ways, haunts Nick and with that, it further emphasizes on the elements of this picture that builds up the story and how the choices that Nick and Lydia make actually matches up to the whole Weighing of the Heart ceremony (I had to do a little research here to clear some things up). It ends up corresponding to the issues of different values as well as the concept of right and wrong. This is a refreshing element to use.
Overall, The Weighing of the Heart is a good read. It starts off fairly lighthearted and quickly becomes something of a romantic story but takes a turn into something more of a thrilling mystery as the possibility of success gets thrown into the equation and how far someone will go to meet an end. At the same time, the thrilling elements intrigue as Nick’s character starts showing more and more of the lesser side and he starts viewing his world in a comparison to this obsession over The Weighing of the Heart. Its a very unique reading experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Paul Tudor Owen was born in Manchester in 1978, and was educated at the University of Sheffield, the University of Pittsburgh, and the London School of Economics.
He began his career as a local newspaper reporter in north-west London, and currently works at the Guardian, where he spent three years as deputy head of US news at the paper’s New York office.
His debut novel, The Weighing of the Heart, was shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize 2019 and longlisted for Not the Booker Prize 2019.
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