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 explores the burden of Britain’s participation in the 20th century’s two major wars, as embodied in the experiences of Robert Hendricks, whose father died under murky circumstances during World War I and who is himself a lovelorn veteran of World War II.

Hendricks, an aging, successful doctor and author, is haunted by memories of both his own war and his father’s, yet coolly evasive about why he’s reluctant to confront them.

It’s 1980, and he’s in the midst of shrugging self-destruction, a casual drunk indifferently hosting a prostitute in a friend’s New York apartment before returning to London to pick up a veiled threatening message on his answering machine. He also receives an unexpected letter from Alexander Pereira, a nonagenarian French neurologist who invites Hendricks to visit him on an island in the Mediterranean.