Book Review: Oblivion

Josephine Hart (1995)

Many might think that Hart’s previous novellas Damage and Sin were cold and “veddy veddy British,” but I find them compelling reading. Of the three books, her most recent is my favorite. Oblivion is an intriguing portrait of a grieving man who cannot seem to overcome the death of his wife.

Our life experiences shape how we interpret and respond to the movies we watch and the books we read, so I’m sure that many will not be as tuned into and affected by the expression of grief that is at the heart of this story as I was. But anyone who has lost a loved one will surely be able to recognize the emotions and thoughts that run through this book. The essence of the book can be found in this excerpt, which has become one of my favorite quotations:

There are certain events in life to which the only response is to fold one’s hands, bow one’s head and remain silent. It is not that words are inadequate. It is simply that they cannot be heard by the one to whom they are addressed. That is the first lesson. It is hard and pure. Whether you wish to learn it or not is irrelevant. You will be taught.

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