Review published on September 28, 2017.
In a freak accident, a swan attacks a small boat, capsizes it and Leda drowns; she was the cherished wife of Seb. Leda was originally from Latvia and even though Seb knows her, he knows very little about her family and upbringing. As he is sifting her possessions he discovers a set of unopened letters addressed to her. Opening them, he finds they are from a man that she has never mentioned and the precious little he thought that he knew about her crumbles to dust. Hampered in moving on by grief and not knowing, he decides that he has to travel to her village in Latvia to find out who she was.
Goldstone has written a strange and ethereal tale of sorrow and melancholy. Taking the character Seb at his lowest ebb, she proceeds to unravel all that he knows about his beloved and thrust him into a variety of situations in an unknown land with people who only knew Leda a little. I liked this, but whilst the writing is haunting beautiful, I felt that the plot didn’t have the necessary depth to it, especially with the promise posed by the dramatic opening. A good debut, Goldstone will be an author to watch though.
Paul Cheney 3/3
Strange Heart Beating by Eli Goldstone
Granta Books 9781783783496 pbk May 2017