The Truth About Love
Knopf, Aug 11 2009, $24.00
In 1962 in Leinster, Ireland, the teenage son of Tom and Sissy O'Hara dies in an accident. Everyone comes to the funeral even newcomer Thomas “The German” Middlehoff who muses about attending his first Irish funeral. The parents of the victim and his siblings Olivia and Daragh know now life is surviving until you die.
Over time however, the desire to just live becomes superseded by other needs except for the family patriarch who believes his mission in life is to keep his family safe and avoid risk. The widower expatriate who ran away from one death that haunts him, Middlehoff initially adopted the O’Hara philosophy, but found it permeated his literary work. Sissy becomes so depressed she is hospitalized. Olivia is angry and resentful as she feels she lives a dead life in homage to her late older brother; she turns to therapy and the the stage to pretend she lives. Finally there is Daragh who is simply an evanescent shadow with no substance.
Rotating perspective the audience receives a powerful look at surviving the death of a loved one. The cast is deep as each represents an outlook on life and death. Although late surprise twists and denouements feels forced and hasty and detract from a profound look at THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE even in death, fans of strong family drama will want to read Josephine Hart’s fine tale of what happens to those who live after a loved one dies with no warning.