‘He sat up, pushed back the bedclothes, held her gaze, and she felt a bolt,
a charge that made her want to sink to the floor.
Here it is, she thought, here is love, and fear’
– The Weight of Love
[ About the Book ]
London, 1995. Robin and Ruth meet in the staff room of an East London school. Robin, desperate for a real connection, instantly falls in love. Ruth, recently bereaved and fragile, is tentative.
When Robin introduces Ruth to his childhood friend, Joseph, a tortured and talented artist, their attraction is instant. Powerless, Robin watches on as the girl he loves and his best friend begin a passionate and turbulent affair.
Dublin 2017. Robin and Ruth are married and have a son, Sid, who is about to emigrate to Berlin. Theirs is a marriage haunted by the ghost of Joseph and as the distance between them grows, Robin makes a choice that could have potentially devastating consequences.
The Weight of Love is a beautiful exploration of how we manage life when the notes and beats of our existence, so carefully arranged, begin to slip off the stave.
[ My Review ]
The Weight of Love by Hilary Fannin arrived in my door courtesy of the lovely Patsy Irwin (Transworld) and I immediately knew that this was a book I would cherish. For reasons I am unable to explain I was instantly drawn to the cover and the premise.
Publishing March 19th with Doubleday Ireland, The Weight of Love is described as ‘an intimate and moving account of the intricacies of marriage and the myriad ways in which we can love and be loved.‘
The Weight of Love is indeed a very special book, a book that captivates and compels with a stunning structure and written with a very elegant pen.
Robin and Ruth meet up in a school in East London in 1995. He is a teacher and she is an SNA. Both ex-pats, Irish, they form an immediate bond and start to spend lunchtimes together discussing many topics across their lives. Robin is instantly attracted to Ruth but it is an ill-fated passion. On introducing Ruth to his wayward and artistic friend Joseph, Robin is no fool. He sees that fate has already made up her mind and his love for Ruth will have to remain hidden.
Robin grew up in West Cork near the sea with his German mother Ushi. It was a bohemian life with Ushi working with her hands making pottery and bringing home waifs and strays. When Robin met Joseph, it was clear that Joseph’s mother was distracted with other things and soon Joseph began to spend all his time with Ushi and Robin. Joseph was more daring, more erratic but the friendship between the two boys worked. They drifted in and out of contact over the years but when both later settled in London, a re-connection was made. Robin was always aware of Joseph’s character flaws, his tortured artistic nature and his attraction to women. When he sees Ruth’s demeanor on meeting Joseph, her everything change, he knew he stood no chance. He looked on as the relationship developed, like a spectator unable to intervene.
Twenty years later and Robin and Ruth are married and living in Ireland. With their son, Sid, heading off on his own journey of enlightenment to Berlin, Ruth and Robin’s relationship is put under the microscope. Their shared past is tumultuous, their history is fragile. Is this a marriage that can survive? Can the memories of those years in London ever be packed tightly away forever? What happens when irrational choices are made?
The chapters jump between now and then, with the past and present expertly woven into a captivating story. The layers are peeled back as the gaps are filled in and both begin to merge into this beautifully constructed tale of tenderness, of yearning.
Hilary Fannin has written a stunning portrayal of love in all its varied forms and colours. With a compelling narrative, the reader is exposed to a literary treat. A wonderful story depicted with such exquisite writing, The Weight of Love carries a profound sense of wistfulness for what could have been.
An astonishing debut novel, The Weight of Love, is an emotive, intelligent and contemporary tale, a poignant and arresting study of passion and pain, of love and loss.
[ Bio ]
HILARY FANNIN is an award-winning playwright and newspaper columnist. Born in Dublin, where she still lives, she was writer in association at the Abbey Theatre in its centenary year. Her plays, including Mackerel Sky, Doldrum Bay, Famished Castle and an adaptation of Racine’s Phaedra, have been performed in Ireland, London, Europe and North America.
She writes a weekly column for the Irish Times and was awarded Irish Columnist of the Year in 2019.
Her memoir, Hopscotch, was published to critical acclaim in 2015.
The Weight of Love is her first novel.
Twitter ~ @HilaryFannin