About the book

On a small island off the south coast of France,Robert Hendricks, an English doctor who has seen the best and the worst the twentieth century had to offer, is forced to confront the events that made up his life.

His host, and antagonist, is Alexander Pereira, a man whose time is running out, but who seems to know more about his guest than Hendricks himself does.

The search for sanity takes us through the war in Italy in 1944, a passionate love that seems to hold out hope, the great days of idealistic work in the 1960s and finally – unforgettably – back into the trenches of the Western Front.

The recurring themes of Sebastian Faulks’s fiction are here brought together with a new stylistic brilliance as the novel casts a long, baleful light over the century we have left behind but may never fully understand. Daring, ambitious and in the end profoundly moving, this is Faulks’s most remarkable book yet.

Read extract

Read a short extract of Where My Heart Used To Beat

The story of Where My Heart Used To Beat

The story begins in Amiens, northern France in 1910. A young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, is on attachment from London, working in the textile industry and lodging with the Azaire family. René Azaire runs a large factory where Stephen works; his second wife Isabelle is a woman of unfulfilled hopes, ill-treated by her husband.

In the stultifying atmosphere of their town house, Stephen develops a concealed passion for Isabelle. At first, she resists; but this only intensifies his feeling, which she soon comes to share. They finally come together in a series of frankly described sexual encounters, whose physical detail foreshadows the bodily tests that await both of them in the coming war. Stephen and Isabelle flee together to Provence. She becomes pregnant and, for reasons she does not disclose till later, she leaves him.