Only Love Can Break your Heart

Only Love Can Break your Heart

A Novel

Book - 2016
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Struggling to come to terms with the worshipped older brother who disappeared seven years earlier, fifteen-year-old Rocky is seduced by a wealthy older girl in the wake of a mysterious double murder that forces the town to confront past misdeeds
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616203825
Characteristics: 307 pages ; 24 cm


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Jul 12, 2016

Solid & engaging story, concise writing.

Jun 06, 2016

This book is better than expected, I thought It would be a decent book but I would recommend to everyone. From the sibling idolization relationship to growing up and making decisions based not only how it will affect you but your family, this book is pretty spot on. Oh, and a murder. I couldn't put it down, a definite page turner.

Feb 15, 2016

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington describes the life of Richard Askew from eight years old to fifteen. It’s told in first person and would be a young adult novel if it were not told by Richard as an adult. Indeed, the dual perspective of Richard as a growing boy, and a wiser Richard as an adult contrast. This contrasting perspective turns what might be a normal small-town drama into a richly portrayed family saga.

Richard grows up in small town Spencerville in Virginia in 1977 with the Old Man (his sixty-year-old father), Alice (his mother) and Paul, his half brother who’s eight years his superior. The novel revolves around Paul and Richard in three parts. Rather than sticking to a main conflict, the novel contains several in each part. There are conflicts tied to family, love, betrayal, finance, violence, and eventually murder. Instead of becoming confusing or overwhelming, the story lines recounted from Richard’s viewpoints is consistently entertaining and surprising. It is not formulaic.

The plots wander at times, but that seems a more realistic and interesting account of a childhood than a plot line with a clear beginning, arc, climax, and denouement. The main characters are mostly eccentric, but that is only because Richard knows them so well. What type of person is not little odd when known so thoroughly? The balance of description, narration, and dialogue contribute to the smooth pace – one that allows the reader to enjoy Ed Tarkington’s language, humor, and meaning without wanting to skim just to find out who the murderer is. This is a rare feat in drama, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys both character and plot-driven fiction.


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